Growing India-Vietnam relation is the new talk among international circles. Both countries have been close ever since the inception of independent Vietnam. The foundation to this bond was laid by the common struggle both went through to attain freedom from foreign forces.
Lately, Indian government has called for a more assertive role in the Indo-Pacific, Vietnam being the major step. This includes strategic and economic revisions of policies to anchor India’s presence in the region.
The region is of immense importance for a energy-thirsty India. Her shift from “Look East” to “Act East” being a huge policy shift.
“BRAHMOS-The Game Changer“-
The recent report by the Vietnamese government claiming to have got hold of state-of-the art missile system has raised quite a few eyebrows. However, Indian counterparts have declined the reports as “incorrect”. If Vietnam’s say is true, it is the first time that it would be operated by a third country. The deal comes after India acquiring member status in the MTCR(Missile Treaty Control Regime) of which China is not a member of.
Vietnam had expressed interest in the system since 2011, but the deal was not inked fearing it could antagonize China. The Modi government however went against the flow and asked BrahMos Aerospace to export the system to Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Chile, and Brazil.
Considering the areas the system is exported, it is pretty clear that India is emerging as a global strategic player.
WHY SOUTH-EAST ASIA?
Focusing attention in South China Sea and its locality is a priority for India as about 50% of her trade passes through the Malacca strait. The region is also believed to be a major oil and natural gas source, for which prospecting is fully fledged.
China showered anger when ONGC and Petro Vietnam signed a MoU to explore the region, clearly highlighting India’s interest in the region.
Trade reasons aside, the region is of immense strategic importance too. South China Sea has been on the news for sovereignty claims by multiple nations, of which a key player is Vietnam. India has sensed this opportunity and need to seize this to counter the Dragon at a global platform. This will boost our stand against Chinese incursions and claims along Indo-China border.
The militaries of both countries have been participating in multiple naval visits and Vietnam welcoming the Indian move to equip the former with OFVs(offshore Patrol Vessels) are strong points.
This is apart from the $100 million as line of credit and another 500 million dollar for defense development. India has also agreed to train the Vietnamese pilots to fly the Sukhoi aircrafts.
It is elating to see that the understanding is mutual as Vietnam has agreed to New Delhi’s query on oil exploration in Vietnamese blocks 127 and 128. This is a definite nail-biter for Beijing as the region is claimed strongly by the communist nation.
This display of strength by India in a sensitive region means she is taking the fight to Beijing’s backyard. Her growing relations with the US, Japan and ASEAN countries would prove to be fruitful in the event of a future dispute between New Delhi and Beijing. India’s plan to keep your enemies’ friends would be a game changer in current global scenario. It would all depend on New Delhi’s foreign policies that caters to a secure future.