India, Vietnam to increase defence, security cooperationSeptember 16th, 2011 - 11:43 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Hanoi, Sep 16 (IANS) India and Vietnam Friday agreed to add greater content to their bilateral relations in defence and security, even as both sides are considering a request for Indian assistance in training Vietnamese naval crew to operate Russian-made Kilo-class submarines.
The agreement was arrived at during a bilateral Joint Commission meeting between India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi.
Krishna is in Hanoi on a three-day official visit and on the second day Friday the two sides also agreed to increase their engagement in the fields of trade and investment, education and culture and other areas. Indian Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma too is in Hanoi on the occasion.
India has an investment of $400 million in Vietnamese hydrocarbons sectors, with its ONGC-Videsh (OVL) having investment of $225 million in oil exploration projects in South China Sea, against some of which has been objected to by China.
“The ministers held discussions covering the entire gamut of bilateral, regional and global issues. They expressed satisfaction that the Strategic Partnership was developing well and agreed to add greater content to bilateral relations in the fields of defence and security, trade and investment, education and culture and other areas,” a release from Indian ministry of external affairs in New Delhi said.
“The ministers next co-chaired the 14th India-Vietnam Joint Commission meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation at the end of which they signed the agreed minutes,” the release said.
The two ministers also reviewed implementation of activities from 2007 to 2010 under bilateral cooperation and agreed to a plan of activities from 2011 to 2013.
The focus areas for cooperation include political, defence and security, trade and investment, credit and banking, energy including oil and gas exploration, agriculture, animal husbandry and aquaculture, science and technology, information and communications technology, health, civil aviation, education, human resources development, capacity-building and cultural and media exchanges.
Vietnam has ordered for six of the Kilo-class submarine from the Admiralty Shipyards in St Petersburg and it will begin induction of these vessels beginning 2012. At present, Vietnam operates two Korean-made Yugo-class midget submarines that will be decommissioned soon after the Kilo-class submarines are inducted.
India operates 10 Kilo-class submarines since its first induction in 1986 and these vessels have recently gone through an upgrade programme to extend their service life from 25 years to 40 years.
Vietnamese navy chief and deputy minister Vice Admiral Nguyen Van Hien had got access to an Indian Navy Kilo-class submarine at Visakhapatnam to learn about its operations when he had visited India in June this year.
Earlier, Krishna had also inaugurated the Vietnam-India Advanced Resource Centre for Information and Communication Technology together with Chairman of the People’s Committee of Hanoi, Nguyen The Thao and Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son.
“This project, the largest so far under bilateral assistance, has been set up under a $2 million grant by India to Vietnam. The hi-tech centre will provide a wide range of training in information and communication technology (ICT), application of e-learning technology in education, infrastructure for web portal creation, service infrastructure for GIS application development, turn key support for e-governance applications and digital library infrastructure for use by libraries,” the release said.
The centre is expected to train more than 2000 government officials and students in various IT related areas. It will train students and professionals aspiring to make a career in the field of ICT and serve as a hub for the training of the trainers as well as, help teachers to learn fundamentals of IT and IT-based teaching tools.
It will also offer specially designed training programme to increase IT literacy amongst the officials working in the Government of Vietnam. The project will also provide specialized assistance in identifying e-governance solution for various departments in Government of Vietnam.
Krishna later called on Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. On Saturday, the last day of his visit, Krishna is expected to call on Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang.
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