The Indian Armed Forces contingent, comprising 45 personnel arrived in Vietnam’s Hanoi on December 11, 2023, to take part in the fourth edition of Joint Military Exercise VINBAX-2023, said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in an official press statement. This is in sync with the expanding strategic engagement between the two countries against the backdrop of common concerns over China’s aggression in the South China Sea.
Military Units Involved
The VINBAX-2023 exercise will be conducted in Vietnam at Hanoi from December 11-21, in which an Indian contingent comprising 39 personnel from the Engineer Regiment of the Bengal Engineer Group and six personnel of the Army Medical Corps will take part. In the exercise, the Vietnam People’s Army contingent will also be represented by 45 personnel.
About Exercise VINBAX
Exercise VINBAX was instituted in 2018 and the first edition was conducted in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. It is an annual training event conducted alternatively in India and Vietnam. The last edition was conducted at Chandimandir Military Station in August 2022, the ministry said.
The main aim of the exercise is to foster collaborative partnerships, promote interoperability and share best practices between the two sides under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter on Peacekeeping Operations. The exercise will be conducted as a command post-exercise and field training exercise with a focus on the deployment and employment of an engineering company and a medical team.
The joint exercise will help in promoting understanding and interoperability between the two contingents and further strengthen the defence cooperation between the friendly armies.
The joint exercise will encourage the exchange of ideas and both contingents will jointly rehearse tactics, techniques, 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.
Culmination of Exercise
As per the MoD statement, the exercise will culminate with a validation exercise, wherein standards attained by both contingents will be showcased. Both sides will conduct technical military operations in accordance with scenarios akin to the worldwide deployment of the United Nations’ contingents.
India’s Strategic Ties with Vietnam
Vietnam is an important country of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) and is also a core component of India’s Look East And Act East Policies. It has territorial disputes with the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea. Moreover, India has oil exploration projects in the Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea. In reflection of the growing strategic ties India also gifted its in-service missile corvettes INS Kirpan in July 2023. The common factor binding the two nations is a result of Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.