India and Vietnam on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mutual logistics support in presence of the two Defence Ministers during the ongoing visit of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to the Southeast Asian nation.
“The Defence Ministers signed the ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030’, which will significantly enhance the scope and scale of existing defence cooperation,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
“In these times of increasing cooperative engagements between the defence forces of the two countries, this is a major step towards simplifying procedures for mutually beneficial logistic support and is the first such major agreement which Vietnam has signed with any country,” the statement said on the logistics agreement.
“Had an excellent meeting with General Phan Van Giang,” Mr. Singh said on Twitter after the meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart. “We had wide-ranging discussions on effective and practical initiatives to further expand bilateral defence engagements and regional and global issues.”
“Our close defence and security cooperation is an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Mr. Singh added.
India has signed several logistics agreements including all Quad countries, France, Singapore and South Korea beginning with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. in 2016.
Logistics agreements are administrative arrangements facilitating access to military facilities for exchange of fuel and provisions on mutual agreement simplifying logistical support and increasing operational turnaround of the military when operating away from India.
Both Ministers also agreed for early finalisation of $US 500 million Defence Line of Credit extended to Vietnam. Mr. Singh also announced gifting two simulators and monetary grant towards setting up of Language and IT Lab at Air Force Officers Training School for capacity building of Vietnamese armed forces.
Mr. Singh began his official visit by paying respects to late President Ho Chi Minh at his Mausoleum in Hanoi.
India and Vietnam share 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.
Bilateral defence engagements have expanded over a period of time to include wide-ranging contacts between the two countries, including defence policy dialogues, military to military exchanges, high-level visits, capacity building and training programs, cooperation in U.N. Peace Keeping, ship visits and bilateral exercises.