Russia Signs Accord With Vietnam on Defense During Putin’s Visit

Russia and Vietnam signed an agreement during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to bolster defense ties between the Cold War allies.

Russia plans to broaden an array of weapons being supplied to Vietnam and assist with personnel training for the Southeast Asian nation’s army and navy, Putin said today in Hanoi at a joint briefing with his Vietnamese counterpart, Truong Tan Sang. The defense agreement also covers issues related to a possible transfer of technologies, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters in the Vietnamese capital.

Putin, who’s making a one-day visit to Hanoi, wants to expand ties between the former allies, overseeing the signing of exploration and investment agreements between Russian state-run energy companies OAO Gazprom and OAO Rosneft with PetroVietnam.

“Vietnam is worried about the rise of China and has been allocating large budgets for defense in the past few years,” Ruslan Pukhov, a member of the Russian Defense Ministry’s advisory board and head of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, said by phone today.

Russia is in talks on setting up a naval servicing facility in Cam Ranh Bay, a former Soviet naval base in Vietnam, Interfax reported yesterday, citing an unidentified official with knowledge of plans.

The topic is among the issues to be discussed during Russian-Vietnamese talks in Hanoi, the news service said, adding that the facility may be used for resupply, maintenance of Russian warships moving between the Pacific to the Gulf of Aden and back.

Russia’s only military base outside the former Soviet Union is a naval resupply facility in the port of Tartus in Syria.

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