Xinhua carried an article originally from Jiefang Daily that analyzed the increased military cooperation between India and Vietnam, stating their joint efforts in the China Sea would create challenges for China, diminish China’s economic influence on Vietnam, and would not help solve the South China Sea conflict. Moreover, the formation of the “Mekong-Ganga Cooperative,” which includes India and Vietnam, is an indication that they are trying to compete with China.
The article commented on how India and Vietnam have recently stepped up their military ties. On July 19, Vietnam invited the Indian Naval warship “Ins Airavat” to visit the Nha Trang port in southern Vietnam. Nha Trang, close to the South China Sea, was an important U.S. military base during the Vietnam War, and is fully equipped militarily. The article added, “It is a clear indication that Vietnam is attempting to include a third country in the South Sea dispute.”
India’s response to Vietnam included a promise to build a large naval warship, to export missiles, and to provide technical assistant to help the Vietnamese military forces. "India’s move shows that it hopes to have a presence in the Asia pacific region." The article ended by stating, “The impact of the strategic cooperation between India and Vietnam will be very limited due to their geographic location and their limited (military) power; … however we cannot take it for granted.”
Source: Xinhua, August 18, 2011