The defense ties between Vietnam and India have been increasingly growing after the two countries signed a joint vision statement on bilateral defense relations in May 2015, a senior Vietnamese official has said. Vietnamese Minister of Defense General Phung Quang Thanh offered the comment while receiving Indian Air Force Chief Arup Raha, who is also Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, in Hanoi on Thursday. Raha arrived in Vietnam on Wednesday for a three-day visit at the invitation of Deputy Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Do Ba Ty, with whom the Indian official had talks. General Thanh hailed Raha’s visit, considering it a boost to the traditional friendship, mutual understanding and trust between the two countries and peoples, particularly in defense ties. The bilateral defense partnership has been increasingly stepped up since the two defense ministries signed the Vietnam-India joint vision statement on cooperation from 2015 to 2020 in May, the Vietnamese official told his guest. The statement has not only benefited both Vietnam and India but it has also contributed to peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, General Thanh added. Air Force Chief Raha said India attaches great significance to its comprehensive ties with Vietnam. He also expressed his impression with the Southeast Asian country’s social and economic development. He briefly informed the host of the outcomes of his talks with Deputy Defense Minister Ty, during which the two sides discussed issues of mutual concern as well as set out measures to further promote their defense cooperation. Raha also assured Ty that India always considers Vietnam the most important partner in the South Asian country’s “Look East” policy. Last month, the Indian Coast Guard patrol vessel Sarang, with 140 crew members on board and led by Senior Colonel Naresh Kumar Kaul, docked at Nha Rong Port to start a five-day visit to Ho Chi Minh City. During the visit, which began on August 26, several Vietnam Coast Guard units and the Indian guests joined mock exercise drills, exchanged experience in law enforcement and carried out coordination in search and rescue.
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