India will soon be supplying naval vessels to Vietnam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday, the first significant military transfer to Hanoi at a time when it is embroiled in a territorial dispute with China. The announcement came after Modi held talks with his visiting Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung, during which the two sides agreed to modernise the Vietnamese military as well as raise Indian involvement in Vietnam’s energy sector.
Both India and Vietnam have territorial disputes with China – India in the Himalayas and Vietnam in the South China Sea. New Delhi and Hanoi are beefing up defences even as they ramp up commercial ties with China, the world’s second-largest economy. “Our defence cooperation with Vietnam is among our most important,” Modi told reporters, adding it will be expanded.