How Hanoi and New Delhi are fortifying defence ties


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNCLOS

Mains level: Paper 2- India-Vietnam defence ties


The two countries recently deepened bilateral cooperation with the signing of the Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030 during the recent visit of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to Vietnam.

About the Joint Vision Statement

  • India and Vietnam Wednesday signed a Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030, “which will significantly enhance the scope and scale of existing defence cooperation”.
  • Boosting the scale and scope of defence cooperation: The Joint Vision Statement is aimed at boosting the scope and scale of the existing defence cooperation between the two nations.
  • Mutual logistic support: The two sides also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mutual logistics support.
  • Elevating CSP: This is the first agreement of its kind that Hanoi has entered into with any other country and elevates the standing of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) which Hanoi shares with New Delhi since 2016 (along with only Russia and China).

Enhanced maritime cooperation

  • Both countries find convergence in their approaches towards the maintenance of stability and security of the Indo-Pacific.
  • This approach has translated into diplomatic and political support in the context of developments within the region and manifested in the form of tangible and functional cooperation instruments — the most vital being bilateral defence partnership.
  • Because of the volume of maritime trade that passes through sea lanes of communication in the Indo-Pacific and potential as well as estimated energy reserves in these waters, maritime cooperation between countries in the region have expanded exponentially.

Emphasis on the cooperative mechanism

  • The enhanced geostrategic prominence and attendant uncertainties vis-à-vis China’s expanding and often abrasive footprints in the Indo-Pacific have resulted in an overall increase in emphasis on cooperative mechanisms and frameworks across the region.
  • Defence partnership between the two countries has been growing steadily following the signing of the Defence Protocol in 2000 and today covers extensive navy-to-navy cooperation.

Dealing with Chinese transgression

  • Vietnam has and continues to be one of the most vocal countries with respect to China’s periodic transgressions in the South China Sea.
  • Freedom of navigation: In India, Vietnam has found an equally uncompromising partner when it comes to the question of violations of freedom of navigation and threats to sovereign maritime territorial rights as enshrined under international maritime law.
  • New Delhi has supported Vietnam’s position in the South China Sea with respect to Beijing’s destabilising actions and coercive tactics backing by reiterating the irrefutability of the UNCLOS.
  • India has also not backed down from continuing ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL)’s oil exploration project in Block 128 (which is within Hanoi’s EEZ) despite China’s protests.
  • Emphasis on naval diplomacy: It is also in the last few years that Vietnam has augmented its emphasis on naval diplomacy and strengthened its ties with the US alongside the extension of its engagement with India and other ASEAN members.
  • Despite the fact that the China factor has provided impetus to the solidification of ties, it is also important to consider that mutual cooperation is not driven solely by it.
  • Support in the rubric of Indo-Pacific: Both countries have expanded areas of collaboration and are supportive of each other’s individual and multilateral involvements within the rubric of the Indo-Pacific.


Convergences between New Delhi and Hanoi has naturally found expression in bilateral relations and the two countries are poised to develop their partnership further in the coming years.

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Back2Basics: About UNCLOS

  • UNCLOS is sometimes referred to as the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty.
  • It came into operation and became effective from 16th November 1982.
  • It defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.
  • It has created three new institutions on the international scene :
    1. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea,
    2. International Seabed Authority
    3. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

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