India For the First Time Took This Step to Teach China a Lesson!

In a stance to better the bilateral terms with Vietnam as well as to strengthen the watchful eyes over China in the Asia-Pacific region, India is now actively looking forward to the sale of the indigenously made Akash surface-to-air missile system to Vietnam.

With China continuing to play the spoilsport in India’s bid to join the 48-nation Nuclear Supplier Group as well as in getting the Jaish-e-Muhammad Chief Masood Azhar recognized as a terrorist by the UN, India is responding by forging fast-track military ties with China’s immediate neighbours. While China is also enhancing their naval forays in the Indian Ocean, India is expanding “strategic and military partnership” with Vietnam and Japan in the major thrust regions.

According to the sources, India’s discussion with Vietnam regarding the sale of Akash area missiles – with an interception range of 25-km against hostile aircraft – have materialized after India offer the Brahmos supersonic and Varunastra anti-submarine torpedoes to the south-east Asian country.

Apart from this, India will continue tutoring the intricate art of operating Kilo-class submarines to the defence personnel of Vietnam, like it has been doing for the last three years. This year, India is also planning to impart training to Vietnamese fighter pilots on its Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets.

Terming Vietnam as a “close friend”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that several new initiatives are being undertaken to further strengthen the ties between these two countries – these initiatives range from helping to upgrade the military equipment of the Vietnamese forces to training them on fighters and submarines.

Such friendly ties have materialized after the two countries decided to “elevate” their “strategic partnership” in 2007 into a “comprehensive strategic partnership” that was agreed upon after PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Hanoi in September 2016.

Sources in the Foreign Ministry has said that Vietnam has shown “deep interest” in the acquisition of the Akash missile and has even asked for a transfer of technology and joint production of the air defence system.

However, India, on the other hand, thinks that the entire process has to be an incremental one starting with an initial off-the-shelf purchase followed by transfer of technology in maintenance and other areas.

According to a source:

“Talks are in progress to arrive at a common plan. It’s relatively easier on the Akash front since the missile system is 96% indigenous.”

The Defence secretaries of the two countries are slated to meet soon and identify the military projects and equipment under the new $500 million defence line of credit announced by Modi in September.

If things go perfectly as planned, China will soon be cornered by the unified powers of Asia.

By: P Shah on Monday, January 9th, 2017

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