Hai Phong, Vietnam (image : GoogleMaps)
In a significant gesture, Vietnam has offered repair and maintenance facilities for Indian warships at its ports, taking bilateral military relations up several notches. After a meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony in Hanoi, his counterpart Gen Phung Quang Thanh welcomed more port calls by the Indian Navy and offered maintenance and repair facilities for warships at Vietnam ports.This would extend a major advantage to the Indian Navy that has been scaling up operations in the region, specially in the South China Sea where several patrols have been carried out in the past few years. Vietnam is strategically located in the region and has several sea ports, including Hai Phong, located near China’s Hainan island, that could be of great interest to India.
Hai Phong is possibly the nearest port made available for the Indian Navy to the Hainan island where the biggest Chinese naval base in the region is located. China has constructed a major naval base that includes an underground facility that can hide the movement of submarines from spy satellites.