A submarine can be seen in the middle pier at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. Photo: Google Maps
The arrival of the submarines from Russia is a key part of Vietnam’s biggest arms build-up since the height of the Vietnam War, which could significantly change the balance of power in the flashpoint South China Sea, analysts say.
As concern has increased about China’s aggressive claims to almost all of the disputed water, Vietnam has been spending billions of dollars developing a submarine fleet, shore-based artillery and missile systems, multirole jet fighters and fast-attack ships, most of which have being bought from Russia and India.
Vietnam was also seeking more Russian jet-fighter bombers and was in talks with European and US arms manufacturers to buy fighter and maritime patrol planes and unarmed surveillance drones, Reuters said, quoting unnamed sources.