India to supply naval spares for operationalising Vietnamese ships

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New Delhi, Dec 17 (UNI) Building up on strategic partnership forged in July, India has agreed to transfer 5,000 naval spares to Vietnam to make its several ageing ships operational.

The announcement was made by Defence Minister A K Antony in Hanoi today during his meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart General Phung Quang Thanh.

Mr Antony, who is on a three-day visit to Vietnam, also announced deputation of a four-member Indian team to impart training on UN peace keeping operations in the first half of next year.

With the objective of taking their defence cooperation to new heights, the two sides agreed to set up a joint working group which will work out Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation between the two nations.

Mr Antony said the measures taken today 'will open a new chapter in defence cooperation between the two countries that will take the strategic partnership ahead'.

Highlighting the traditionally close and cordial relations, foundation of which was laid by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh in their very first meeting in Hanoi 50 years ago, he said commonality of views of the two countries in many areas was a reflection of their shared strategic interests.

Mr Antony congratulated Vietnam on being elected as non-permanent member of UN Security Council for two years.

General Thanh suggested training of Vietnamese defence personnel, expanding cooperation between defence industries of the two countries and more exchanges of delegations, an official statement here said.

The Vietnamese Defence Minister also suggested increase in the frequency of goodwill visits by naval ships, application of information technology in defence and e-technology and technical support to Vietnamese navy.

He expressed gratitude to India for providing training to armed forces officers in various areas stating, ''They are bringing back valuable knowledge and skills to their work areas.'' So far, 49 Vietnamese officers had attended various army and navy courses, while another 64 officers had attended English language courses.

Mr Antony inspected an inter-services guard of honour on his arrival at the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence Headquarters, the statement added.

UNI

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