New Delhi's abiding interest in Vietnam is focused on defence and is meant as a pressure point against China
India under the Narendra Modi government has made no secret of its desire to play a more assertive role in the larger Indo-Pacific. As Modi himself underlined in his address to the joint session of the US Congress last week: “A strong India-US partnership can anchor peace, prosperity and stability from Asia to Africa and from Indian Ocean to the Pacific. It can also help ensure security of the sea lanes of commerce and freedom of navigation on seas." Therefore, it should not be surprising that India seems now ready to sell the supersonic BrahMos missile, made by an India-Russian joint venture, to Vietnam after dilly-dallying on Hanoi’s request for this sale since 2011. Though India’s ties with Vietnam have been growing in the past few years, this sale was seen as a step too far that would antagonize China.
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