India gifted the indigenously-built in-service missile corvette INS Kirpan to Vietnam to enhance that country’s naval capabilities. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced this on June 19 after bilateral talks with his visiting Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Gang.
“Progress on various bilateral defence cooperation initiatives was reviewed during the meeting, with both sides expressing satisfaction at the ongoing engagements,” a Defence Ministry statement said on the talks, stating that the two Ministers had focussed on enhancing cooperation between defence industries of both countries, and maritime security.
Both Ministers identified means to enhance existing areas of collaboration, especially in defence industry cooperation, maritime security and multinational cooperation, the Ministry said. As part of his engagements, General Phan also visited headquarters of the Defence Research and Development Organisation and discussed ways to enhance “defence industrial capabilities by cooperation in defence research and joint production”.
Earlier in the day, General Gang laid a wreath at the National War Memorial and was later given a Tri-Service guard of honour. He arrived in India on June 18 on a two-day visit.
INS Kirpan is a Khukri class missile corvette displacing 1,350 tonnes and was commissioned into the Navy on January 12, 1991. It has a displacement of close to 1,400 tonnes, a length of 91 metres, a beam of 11 metres, and is capable of speed in excess of 25 knots. The ship is fitted with a medium range gun, 30 mm close range guns, chaff launchers, and surface to surface missiles, enabling it to perform a wide variety of roles, including coastal and offshore patrol, coastal security, surface warfare, anti-piracy, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, according to the Navy.
In June 2022, India and Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mutual logistics support in the presence of the two Defence Ministers during Mr. Singh’s visit to the Southeast Asian nation, and the two Defence Ministers signed the “Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam defence partnership towards 2030”, which the Ministry had said would significantly enhance the scope and scale of existing defence cooperation.
Hanoi has procured 12 high speed patrol boats for the Vietnamese border guard force under a $100 million Line of Credit (LoC) extended in September 2014. In 2016, India extended another $500 million defence LoC, and discussions are under way to identify the equipment.
India has also announced gifting two simulators and monetary grant towards the setting up of a Language and IT Lab at the Air Force Officers Training School for capacity building in the Vietnamese armed forces.
India and Vietnam have shared a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since 2016 and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership. Vietnam is an important partner in India’s ‘Act East’ policy and the Indo-Pacific vision, the statement added.