Indian frigate, tanker & corvette head for joint naval drills with Vietnam

The Indian and Vietnamese navies are to hold joint exercises next week as both nations seek to enhance maritime cooperation, bolster ties and contribute to stability in the region and worldwide, officials said.

Three Indian warships – Shivalik-class stealth frigate ‘Sahyadri,’ Deepak-class fleet tanker ‘Shakti’ and anti-submarine stealth corvette ‘Kamorta’ – are heading to Da Nang Port, one of the largest port systems in Vietnam, which is located in the South China Sea. The drills are scheduled to take place from May 21-25, a statement from the Indian Navy said on Sunday.  

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“During the visit, there would be professional interaction between personnel of both the navies… On completion of the harbor phase, both Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy would be undertaking an exercise (sic),” the statement added.

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According to the Indian Navy, the current visit seeks “to enhance maritime cooperation” between the two countries, will “further bolster the strong bonds of friendship,” and “contribute to security and stability in the region and the world at large.” The last time that Indian Navy ships – frigate ‘Satpura’ and corvette ‘Kadmat’ – visited Vietnam was in September 2017.

READ MORE: US, India, Japan stage largest joint drills to address ‘maritime security threats’

Both nations have ties in a number of spheres, including training, repairs, maintenance and logistics support. According to data from the Indian Defense Ministry, the cooperation between both states dates back to the 2nd century.

Defense ties between Hanoi and New Delhi have significantly strengthened over the years. In 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Vietnam, bringing the relations to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Modi also offered Vietnam a credit line of $500 million for defense cooperation, saying that relations between the two countries would “contribute to stability, securities and prosperity in this region.”  

India once reportedly offered to train Vietnamese pilots to fly Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets amid bilateral efforts to boost defense ties. The Vietnamese were also interested in learning from India’s experience in repair and maintenance of the Su-30s  

Hanoi has been long interested in buying medium-range supersonic cruise missiles, BrahMos, which is a joint venture between the Russia and India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), according to reports by Indian media in recent years. 

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