PM Narendra Modi and PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc meet for a tete-a-tete before formal talks
Hanoi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks this morning with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc and has announced a new 500 million dollar line in credit for Vietnam to boost defence ties.
Here are the 10 latest developments:
- PM Modi is on a two-day visit to Vietnam, which has gone on a spending spree in recent years to expand and modernise its military arsenal amid territorial disputes with an increasingly aggressive China in the strategically vital South China Sea.
- "I am also happy to announce a new defence credit for Vietnam of $500 million for facilitating deeper defence cooperation," PM Modi told reporters after officials signed 12 agreements, including in technology, cybersecurity and health.
- PM Modi did not specify details of the arrangement, but traditionally such lines of credit would oblige Vietnam to sign contracts with Indian companies.
- About 50 percent of India's trade passes through the South China Sea, where Beijing has built up islands and outcrops capable of supporting military activities, much to the chagrin of Vietnam and other claimants.
- Vietnam's Prime Minister praised its close friendship with India during PM Modi's visit, the first by an Indian premier in 15 years and part of his "Act East Policy" to strengthen economic and security ties with east Asian neighbours.
- "(We) discussed matters concerning the East Sea," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told reporters. "All sides must peacefully solve East Sea disputes based on international laws," he added of the contested waterway, where the Philippines, Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also have claims.
- China has previously criticised India's cooperation with Vietnam in the defence sector. In 2014, India had in a deal similar to today's agreed to give Vietnam a $100 million line of credit to buy naval patrol boats.
- This evening PM Modi leaves for the Chinese city of Hangzhou, where the G20 summit is being held. He will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit.
- It will be their first meeting after the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit held in Uzbekistan capital Tashkent in June, where PM Modi had urged China to make a "fair and objective" assessment of India's application for membership to the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group.
- PM Modi will meet US President Barack Obama on Monday. He will also hold bilateral meetings with the premiers of Australia, Saudi Arabia, Argentina and the UK on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
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