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Armies of India, Vietnam begin 11-day military exercise in Hanoi

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian and Vietnamese armies began an 11-day military exercise in Vietnam on Monday, in sync with the expanding strategic engagement between the two countries against the backdrop of common concerns over China's increasingly aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea.

The aim of the exercise is to foster a collaborative partnership and promote interoperability between the two forces, the Indian Army said.

"The joint exercise will help in promoting understanding and interoperability between the two contingents and further strengthen the defence cooperation between the friendly armies," it said.

In reflection of the growing strategic ties, India gifted its in-service missile corvette, INS Kirpan, to Vietnam in July.

Vietnam, an important country of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea region.

India has oil-exploration projects in the Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea.

The military exercise – "VINBAX-23" – between the two armies will take place from December 11 to 21 in Hanoi.

The Indian contingent comprises 45 personnel – 39 from an engineer regiment of the Bengal Engineer Group and six from the Army Medical Corps.

The Vietnam People's Army has deployed 45 personnel for the drill.

VINBAX was instituted in 2018 and the first edition of the joint military exercise was conducted at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.

It is an annual training event conducted alternately in India and Vietnam.

The last edition was conducted at the Chandimandir military station in August 2022.

"The aim of the exercise is to foster collaborative partnership, promote interoperability and share best practices between the two sides under Chapter VII of UN Charter on Peacekeeping Operations," the Indian Army said in a statement.

"The exercise will be conducted as a command post exercise-cum-field training exercise with focus on deployment and employment of an engineer company and a medical team," it added.

The Army said the exercise will encourage exchange of ideas and both contingents will jointly rehearse tactics, technique and procedures.

"Ideas will be exchanged on modern methods to construct roads, culverts, helipads, ammunition shelters and observation posts in operational areas. In addition, rehearsals will be carried out for drills related to combat engineering and combat medical tasks," it said.

The drill will culminate with a validation exercise, wherein the standards attained by both contingents will be showcased.

"Both sides will conduct technical military operations in accordance with scenarios akin to worldwide deployment of United Nations' contingents," the Army said.

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