India hands over fully operational warship to Vietnam | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India hands over fully operational warship to Vietnam

ByRahul Singh
Jul 23, 2023 10:40 AM IST

This is the first time India has gifted a fully operational, in-service corvette to any friendly foreign country. The transfer of the warship comes a year after India handed over 12 high-speed boats to the Vietnamese Navy to boost its capabilities under a $100 million line of credit to that country

In a step aimed at deepening defence ties with Vietnam, the Indian Navy on Saturday decommissioned INS Kirpan and handed over the indigenously built missile corvette to the southeast Asian country’s navy at Cam Ranh as a gift, with the ceremony presided over by navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) deputy commander-in-chief Rear Admiral Pham Manh Hung.

Indian Navy on Saturday decommissioned INS Kirpan and handed over it the Vietnam Navy at Cam Ranh as a gift (Twitter/@indiannavy)
Indian Navy on Saturday decommissioned INS Kirpan and handed over it the Vietnam Navy at Cam Ranh as a gift (Twitter/@indiannavy)

In his address, Hari Kumar said security collaboration between the two countries would ensure that no “single nation” can unilaterally alter or misinterpret rules to serve its own interests in the Indo-Pacific Region.

His comments come at a time when the Chinese Navy is seeking to expand its footprint in the region and is locked in disputes with many other nations in the South China Sea.

The navy chief was referring to enhanced security collaboration under the joint vision statement on “Defence Partnership towards 2030” signed by India and Vietnam last year. Defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang, signed the vision statement in Hanoi in June 2022.

This is the first time India has gifted a fully operational, in-service corvette to any friendly foreign country. The transfer of the warship comes a year after India handed over 12 high-speed boats to the Vietnamese Navy to boost its capabilities under a $100 million line of credit to that country.

INS Kirpan, a Khukri-class missile corvette, served the Indian Navy for 32 years.

The transfer of INS Kirpan will serve as a catalyst for enhancing bilateral relations between the two navies, the navy said in a statement. INS Kirpan departed for Vietnam on June 28 and reached Cam Ranh on July 8.

“Both India and Vietnam are responsible members of the global community and regularly demonstrate their commitment to upholding the principles of fairness and justice enshrined in the international legal framework,” Hari Kumar said.

Singh announced on June 19, 2023, that INS Kirpan would be given to Vietnam as a gift.

Manned by 12 officers and 100 sailors, the 1,450-tonne INS Kirpan was an integral part of the navy’s Eastern Fleet and participated in several operations during the last three decades. The warship is 90 metres long and 10.45 metres wide. It was handed over to the Vietnamese Navy with full complement of weapons and sensors.

The handing-over ceremony symbolises the deep-rooted friendship and strategic partnership between India and Vietnam, said Hari Kumar.

“As we entrust INS Kirpan to the Vietnamese Navy, we do so with complete confidence in their ability to operate and maintain this magnificent vessel. We are certain that they will harness its immense potential to safeguard their national maritime interests, contribute to regional security, and foster peace and stability,” he added.

The transfer of the corvette reflects India’s commitment to assist like-minded partners in enhancing their capacity and capability and is in consonance with the government’s Act East and Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) policies, the navy statement said.

The Indian Navy chief also asked the Vietnamese Navy to examine and explore the vast potential that the Indian shipbuilding industry holds.

“In my opinion, it’s the best value-for-money proposition you can find. This indigenous shipbuilding prowess is also an assurance to our friends and partners that the Indian Navy is capable and ready to support our collective security needs in the region...We also look forward to enhancing our engagements in the field of submarine rescue support and cooperation as well as maintenance,” Hari Kumar added.

Kumar will visit the Vietnamese Navy headquarters at Hai Phong for talks with Vice Admiral Tran Thanh Nghiem, commander-in-chief, and later call on the Vietnamese defence minister.

The navies of India and Vietnam were part of the inaugural Asean-India maritime drills held in the South China Sea in May. Chinese surveillance vessel Xiang Yang Hong 10 and at least eight maritime militia ships, a front for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), sailed towards the area where the naval drills were held.

The Chinese vessels moved towards the exclusive economic zone of Vietnam, and it was not clear whether the purpose was to keep an eye on the naval exercise or to make a foray into Vietnam’s EEZ, where China is engaged in a maritime dispute, as previously reported by HT.

Apart from Vietnam, the Asean regional bloc consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

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