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India and Vietnam strengthen defence cooperation, carry out maritime exercises in SCS

Indian warship participating in exercises with Vietnam (Photo: Ministry of Defence)

India and Vietnam carried out a naval exercise on Wednesday in the South China Sea (SCS)–a maritime region that China eyes exclusively for itself.

India deployed its guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvijay and guided-missile corvette INS Kora while the Vietnamese People's Navy deployed frigate VPNS Ly Thai.

The maritime exercise seeks to strengthen defence relations as both India and Vietnam share concerns over China's unbridled expansionism in the SCS.

In a statement, the Defence Ministry said: "In continuation with ongoing deployment of Indian Navy ships in the South China Sea, INS Ranvijay and INS Kora undertook bilateral maritime exercise with Vietnam People's Navy frigate Ly Thai To on Wednesday".

Both India and Vietnam are mounting opposition to China's territorial aggression. Beijing attacked India in Ladakh in 2020 while it has been violating Vietnamese waters in the SCS. India has been collaborating with Vietnam in oil exploration, which has often been disturbed by China.

The Defence Ministry statement added: "Defence ties between the two countries have been robust. In June this year, the two countries undertook a defence security dialogue and Indian Naval ships have been frequently visiting Vietnamese Ports. Training cooperation between the two navies has been on the rise over the years".

Last month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Vietnamese counterpart Sr Lt Gen Phan Van Giang, had vowed to enhance military-to-military cooperation between the two nations.

The sea phase included surface warfare exercises, weapon firing drills and helicopter operations. Regular interactions between the two navies over the years have enhanced their interoperability and adaptability,' Commander Madhwal said.

INS Ranvijay is equipped with an array of weapons and sensors which includes surface-to-surface missiles, anti-air missiles and guns, heavyweight Torpedoes and anti-submarine rockets while INS Kora is the lead ship of Kora class missile corvette and it is fitted with surface-to-surface missiles and anti-air guns. 

More on the South China Sea

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China breathes fire as the world converges on the South China Sea