In a significant move aimed at enhancing bilateral ties and addressing shared concerns over China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, the Indian and Vietnamese armies commenced an 11-day joint military exercise on Monday. The exercise, named “VINBAX-23,” is scheduled to take place in Hanoi from December 11 to 21, marking the latest chapter in the growing strategic partnership between the two nations.
The primary objective of VINBAX-23 is to foster collaboration and promote interoperability between the Indian and Vietnamese armed forces. With 45 personnel from each side participating, the exercise will focus on deploying and employing an engineer company and a medical team. Both contingents will engage in a command post exercise-cum-field training exercise, exchanging ideas and rehearsing tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Against the backdrop of territorial disputes between Vietnam and China in the South China Sea, the exercise holds particular significance. India’s decision to gift its in-service missile corvette, INS Kirpan, to Vietnam in July further underscores the strengthening defense cooperation between the two nations. Notably, India also has oil-exploration projects in Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea.
The VINBAX series, initiated in 2018, is an annual training event alternately conducted in India and Vietnam. This year’s exercise follows the successful edition held at the Chandimandir military station in August 2022. Both sides expressed the aim of promoting understanding and cooperation, emphasizing the exchange of modern methods in constructing infrastructure in operational areas.
The joint military exercise showcases the commitment of India and Vietnam to peacekeeping operations under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. As the drill progresses, both contingents will conduct technical military operations aligned with scenarios resembling the worldwide deployment of United Nations’ contingents. The exercise will culminate in a validation exercise, demonstrating the standards attained by both armies.