India has offered to sell its home-made Akash Surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems to Vietnam threby elbowing into to the Asian arms market.
The South-East Asian nation has in the past purchased ships from India and is averse to China making it easier for New Delhi to sell its defence equipment there.
Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and is capable of hitting and destroying incoming aircraft, missiles, helicopters and drones up to 30 kilometers away.
The Akash missile is a replacement for the Indian Army’s Russian-made SAM-6 Kvadrat, various media reported. However the Akash SAM is superior the Kvadrat, which was designed three decades ago, in terms of targeting accuracy and firepower.
While Vietnam is looking for transfer of technology and joint production, India initially wants to offer missile systems off-the-shelf.
The incentive to Vietnam to buy Indian weapons could the $500 million defence line of credit to Vietnam extended during Indian PM Modi's visit to that country last year.
In addition to selling a number of naval vessels to Hanoi, Delhi has offered BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and Varunastra anti-submarine torpedoes to the country in the past.
India is also training Vietnamese fighter pilots and submariners as both countries operate Russian equipment.