The Indian and Vietnamese armies commenced an 11-day joint military training exercise named "VINBAX-23" in Hanoi, Vietnam, amidst concerns over China's aggressive stance in the South China Sea (SCS).
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," the army further added.
Reflecting the strengthening of strategic ties, India had earlier gifted the in-service missile corvette, INS Kirpan, to Vietnam in July.
Vietnam, a key ASEAN member, is embroiled in territorial disputes with China in the SCS, a region where India also has ongoing oil-exploration projects in Vietnamese waters.
"VINBAX-23", scheduled from 11 to 21 December, involves 45 personnel from the Indian Army, including 39 from an engineer regiment of the Bengal Engineer Group and six from the Army Medical Corps.
Similarly, the Vietnam People's Army has also deployed 45 personnel for the drill.
The VINBAX initiative, launched in 2018, alternates its venue annually between India and Vietnam. The inaugural joint exercise took place in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, while the last edition was hosted 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 army stated.
The exercise will include both command post exercises and field training, focusing on the deployment of an engineer company and a medical team.
It aims to facilitate the exchange of modern tactics and techniques in operational areas, such as constructing roads, culverts, helipads, ammunition shelters, and observation posts.
Finally, the exercise will involve rehearsals of combat engineering and medical tasks. The VINBAX-23 exercise will end with a validation exercise to demonstrate the proficiency attained by both contingents.
"Both armies will execute technical military operations based on scenarios typical of global United Nations' contingent deployments," the army added.
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