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Updated: March 25, 2010 18:48 IST

Vietnam asks Russia to help build submarine base

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Russian Defence Minister Mr. Anatoly Serdyukov. File photo: AP.
Russian Defence Minister Mr. Anatoly Serdyukov. File photo: AP.

Russia will help Vietnam build a submarine base and provide other military assistance, the Russian defence minister said on Thursday.

Russian news agencies quoted Anatoly Serdyukov as saying that Vietnam needs the base for the six diesel—electric submarines it has ordered from Russia.

Mr. Serdyukov, who visited Vietnam earlier this week, said that the country also wants Russia to help build a ship repair yard that could service visiting Russian navy ships.

Vietnam would also need rescue and auxiliary vessels and planes for naval aviation, but has asked for a loan to help finance the deals, he said.

The Soviet Union provided Vietnam with billions of dollars in economic and military aid during the Cold War, but ties unravelled after the Soviet collapse. In 2003, Russia withdrew from a Soviet—era naval base in Cam Ranh Bay, saying it wants to save money on maintenance costs.

Mr. Serdyukov said on Thursday that the issue of the base hadn’t been discussed during his trip.

Military cooperation between Moscow and Hanoi has increased in recent years, with Vietnam again becoming a top customer of Russian weapons industries.

The RIA Novosti news agency quoted Mr. Serdyukov as saying that Vietnam has signed contracts worth $4.5 billion for the purchase of Russian weapons in 2008—2009.

In addition to the six submarines, Hanoi has ordered frigates, missile boats and Su—30 fighter jets. The big purchases come amid tensions between Vietnam and China over the Spratly and Paracel islands in the South China Sea.

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