India sends warship to deliver aid to Vietnam, conduct exercise in South China Sea
An Indian warship reached Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday with 15 tonnes of humanitarian relief supplies for people affected by floods in central Vietnam as part of New Delhi’s efforts to assist countries in the region amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The visit by the corvette INS Kiltan is also aimed at enhancing maritime cooperation between the two navies and contributing to regional security and stability. On its departure from Ho Chi Minh City, the warship will undertake a “passing exercise” with the Vietnam People’s Navy in South China Sea during December 26-27.
INS Kiltan arrived at Nha Rong port under “Mission Sagar-III”, part of India’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief assistance to friendly foreign countries during the pandemic, the defence ministry said.
The relief materials will be handed over to Vietnam’s central steering committee for national disaster prevention and control. “This assistance is reflective of the deep people-to-people connect between the two friendly countries,” the ministry said.
Mission Sagar-III was launched in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR or security and growth for all in the region, and “reiterates India’s position as a dependable partner and the Indian Navy as the preferred security partner and first responder”, it added.
On Monday, India and Vietnam signed seven agreements in areas ranging from defence to petrochemicals and unveiled a joint vision for enhanced security cooperation to ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific during a summit between Modi and his counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The developments came against the backdrop of concerns in both countries about China’s aggressive actions. India also handed over one of 12 patrol boats being made for Vietnam under a $100-million line of credit, and Modi described Vietnam as “an important pillar of India’s Act East policy and an important ally of our Indo-Pacific vision”.