From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : South China Sea
Mains level : India’s Necklace of Diamonds Strategy
India and Vietnam signed a MoU on mutual logistics support.
India and other such Logistics Agreements
- Logistics agreements are administrative arrangements facilitating access to military facilities for exchange of fuel.
- It provides for logistical support and increasing operational turnaround of the military when operating away from India.
- India has signed several logistics agreements including with all Quad countries, France, Singapore and South Korea beginning with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the U.S. in 2016.
What makes this newer agreement special?
- The MoU is the first such major agreement which Vietnam has signed with any country.
- Both nations signed key pacts including a rare 10-year vision document.
- Both have similar territorial challenges from China.
Why Vietnam is at the centre of India’s policy to counter China?
- India entered the contested region of the South China Sea via Vietnam.
- India signed an agreement with Vietnam in October 2011 to expand and promote oil exploration in the South China Sea.
- It stood by its decision despite China’s challenge to the legality of Indian presence.
- Hanoi has been publicly sparring with Beijing over its claims to the South China Sea for some years now.
- India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since 2016 and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership.
- Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East policy.
Significance of such ties
- If China wants to expand its presence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, the thinking in New Delhi goes, India can do the same thing in East Asia.
- India can develop robust ties with states on China’s periphery such as Vietnam without giving China a veto on such relationships.
Contributing factor: India’s Necklace of Diamonds Strategy
- Over the past few years, China is expanding its footprint in the Indian Ocean through its ‘Debt Trap Diplomacy’ and ‘String of Pearls Strategy’.
- Through its String of Pearls strategy, China is expanding its footprints to contain Indian hold in the Indian Ocean.
- It is creating a ring around India through strategically placed nations such as at Chittagong (Bangladesh), at Karachi, Gwadar port (Pakistan) and at Colombo, Hambantota (both in Sri Lanka) and other facilities.
What is Necklace of Diamonds Strategy?
- It strategy aims at garlanding China or in simple words, the counter encirclement strategy.
- India is expanding its naval bases and is also improving relations with strategically placed countries to counter China’s strategies.
- Under this strategy, India’s strategic bases include-
- Changi Naval Base, Singapore
- Sabang Port, Indonesia
- Duqm Port, Oman
- Assumption Island, Seychelles
- Chabahar Port, Iran
- Apart from getting direct access to the strategically placed naval bases, India is also developing new naval bases, developing the old bases to garland China.
- India has a perfect antidote for Chinese expansion.
- It has been successful in establishing healthy relations with all the nations on China’s periphery.