India has agreed to supply four offshore patrol vessels and possibly the BrahMos missile to Vietnam.
The announcement came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with his visiting Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung.
Vietnam plans to use the vessels for surveillance off its coast and around its military bases in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, the very region it is building a credible naval deterrent to China with Kilo-class submarines from Russia.
During the meeting, the two sides have also agreed to modernize the Vietnamese military as well as raise Indian involvement in Vietnam's energy sector.
"Our defence cooperation with Vietnam is among our most important ones. India remains committed to the modernization of Vietnam's defence and security forces,” Narendra Modi said. “This will include expansion of our training programme, which is already very substantial, joint-exercises and cooperation in defence equipment. We will quickly operationalise the $100 million line of credit that will enable Vietnam acquire new naval vessels from India."
India is also reportedly considering the sale of the BrahMos missile to Hanoi however New Delhi will wait to enter the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) before making a sale, but both countries (Russia and India) have decisively crossed this hurdle.