First high-speed boat under $100 million defense credit line handed over to Vietnam by India
Under the $100 million Defence Line of Credit extended by New Delhi to Hanoi, India on Monday handed over the first of 12 High-Speed Guard Boat to Vietnam.
During a virtual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vietnam’s PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc the handing over of the boats occurred. During the meet both the sides also launched manufacturing of High-speed Guard Boats and the laying of the keel of 7 such boats which will be manufactured in Vietnam.
While setting down the end results on defense at the summit, secretary east Riva Ganguly Das stated that, “Both India and Vietnam agreed to further strengthen their defense industry collaboration extended to Vietnam building on the Indian defense credit lines. For Defence Industry Cooperation an Implementing Arrangement was also signed.”
Development projects and culture were also key focus areas, seven development projects built with Indian ‘Grant-in-Aid’ Assistance of US$ 15 million for the local community in Vietnam’s southeast Ninh Thuan province were handed over by India. Additionally, the number of Quick Impact Projects has been increased by New Delhi to 10 from the current 5 starting FY 2021-2022.
India will be part of the conservation on the cultural front of 3 historical places in the ASEAN country-F-block of Temple at My Son, Nhan Cham Tower in Phu Yen province and Dong Duong Buddhist Monastery in Quang Nam province. The restoration of Cham temples in Central Vietnam is already been worked on by the India’s Archaeological Survey team, where a 9th century AD monolithic Shiva Linga was recently discovered. Also the bilateral project for preparing an Encyclopedia on India – Vietnam Civilizational and Cultural Relations was launched by both the sides.
But perhaps, the mention of UNCLOS in the India Vietnam Joint statement -Joint Vision for Peace Prosperity, and People will be keenly noted by Beijing.
The vision document stated that, leaders reasserted the importance of sustaining peace, security, stability, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea while following the peaceful outcomes of disputes in accordance with international law, specially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), without utilizing threat or use of force.
In 2016, China violated the UNCLOS or United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as it did not accept the award of the tribunal established under it. The Chinese claim over a large area of the South China Sea-based on its so-called “nine-dash line was dismissed by the tribunal.
Over Chinese increased aggressiveness and attempts to unilaterally stake claims on the South China Sea, the statement said, “The importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states have been underscored by both leaders, and avoidance of actions that could further complicate the situation or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability.”
Amid India-China standoff ITBP to induct 10,000 personnel
Amid this endless India-China standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (TBP) is planning to raise seven new battalions comprising 10,000 soldiers, with an aim to bring up the strength of nearly 90,000 troops to around 1 lakh.
Though the Union home ministry has already given the clearance for this, but the cabinet approval is still awaited. Sources in the security grid have told that around 10,000 new personnel will be inducted in the ITBP to safe-guard the vulnerable northern borders.
The ITBP is deployed over 3.488 km of India and China boundary that stretches over from the Karakoram in Ladakh to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh. With the induction of more troops further fortification of borders will occur.
An officer acquainted with this development stated that, With the LAC becoming the new LoC, for long standoffs with the Chinese the need of the hour is to fortify further.
The move comes when news of fresh interventions into India in the Chanthang area of Ladakh took place. A video went viral on Sunday of locals protesting against the Chinese troops. The video displays how locals were prevailing over the Chinese forcing them to move back. In the Doletango area this incident took place. However, it was confirmed by the intelligence officials that such instances have occurred in this area in the past as well.
It is suspected that Chinese PLA came dressed as civilians and the Rebo Nomads of around 20 had set up 8-10 tents. Barring 2019, when Nomads did not put up their tents, such incidents have been a regular occurrence. But India is preparing for the hard way.
According to the analysts, India cannot afford to lower its guard with Chinese forces being beefed up on the other side of the LAC and the induction of troops is to fill the gaps.
For the forces guarding the LAC the real challenge will be to prevent any Chinese incursions after the winter gets over and snow melts. And hence the preparations for such a scenario are underway.
However, an officer from the force said, ITBP might take at least a year to induct force personnel, even after getting full clearance. As this requires budget allocation, and constables recruited through Staff Selection Commission and it needs a 44-46 week training period.