New Delhi: Aiming to deepen bilateral military cooperation, India and Vietnam today held strategic defence dialogue here.
The Vietnamese delegation was led by Deputy Defence Minister Senior Lt Gen Ngyyen Chi Vinh, while the Indian side was headed by Defence Secretary R K Mathur. Vinh also called on National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag.
The annual dialogue comes two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with his Vietnamese counterpart here.
Though defence officials remained tight-lipped about what transpired during the meeting, sources said all issues relating to cooperation in the crucial sector were discussed.
According to official sources, Vietnam has agreed to buy four patrol vessels for its Navy under the Line of Credit Scheme extended by India but is yet to formally identify the shipyard it wants them from.
Vietnam wants the vessel for surveillance off its coast and around its military bases in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea where it is building a credible naval deterrent to China with Kilo-class submarines from Russia.The sources also said that talks are on to train Vietnam Air Force pilots in flying Sukhoi fighters as well.
India is already training Vietnam Navy personnel in operating the Russian-origin Kilo-class submarine among other areas.
India and Vietnam have a long-standing defence relationship but it has been restricted to military exchanges, training, spares and maintenance of military hardware.