- Apr 21, 2013
NEW DELHI: Adding teeth to its Act East Policy, India could train intelligence officials from Vietnam besides providing more training slots to the Navy and Air Force personnel from the Southeast Asian country. India may also provide military and defence technology, besides providing support for effectively countering cybercrimes as requested by Vietnam, according to officials privy to National Security Adviser Ajit Doval's discussions with the country's top leadership on Friday last week. Doval met Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, in Hanoi as part of his trip to Bangkok and Hanoi to firm up strategic partnerships.
The request for training of Vietnamese intelligence officials and increasing training slots for its Naval and Air Force personnel came from PM Dung, officials said. The NSA is understood to have expressed India's willingness to assist Vietnam's military and security apparatus. In an indirect reference to China, Doval stated that India was against any unilateral action to change status quo in the seas of the region and called for freedom of navigation, officials said.
The NSA reviewed the situation in the South China Sea region where China is building artificial islands. India has oil blocks in the region offered by Vietnam and the region is key to its Asia-Pacific outreach. Vietnam has been welcoming Indian naval ships in its region. Countries in the region are seeking bigger Indian presence amid China's growing assertiveness and territorial claims.
India is also worried China's phenomenal rise and its growing presence in the Indian Ocean Region. India has been asking for freedom of navigation in seas and recently the NSA expressed worries over Chinese military bases in the region.
India has robust defence ties with Vietnam. Bilateral military cooperation includes sale of military equipment, sharing of intelligence, joint naval exercises and training in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare. When Dung visited India last October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in a press statement, "Our defence cooperation with Vietnam is among our most important ones. India remains committed to the modernisation of Vietnam's defence and security forces. This will include expansion of our training programme, which is already very substantial, joint-exercises and cooperation in defence equipment." The PM had added that India would quickly operationalise the $100 million Line of Credit that will enable Vietnam to acquire naval vessels from India.
Bolstering Act East Policy: India to train Vietnamese intelligence forces - The Economic Times