India today termed as “incorrect” reports of it supplying BrahMos anti-ship cruise missiles to Vietnam even as the South Asian country said the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations has been growing in many fields including security and defence. Replying to questions on the issue, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry has already rejected the report, saying it is incorrect. “It is not correct, that is what I am trying to say. The person who has been quoted, the ministry has already rejected and they are saying that the news item which is running and which is out is incorrect,” he said. However, there was no clear denial of the report by Vietnam’s foreign ministry in the public domain.
When asked about the report, a spokesperson in the Vietnam foreign ministry said the Vietnam–India comprehensive strategic partnership has been actively developing in many fields including economics, trade, investment, culture, education, security and defence. “The bilateral security and defence ties have been making practical contribution to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large,” the spokesperson said, adding Vietnam persistently pursues a national defence policy of peace and of self-defence. The spokesperson further said “procurement of defence equipment by Vietnam is consistent with the policy of peace and self-defence and is the normal practice in the national defence. We will forward your question to the relevant agency.”
There was no comment available from the defence ministry on the issue. India had held talks with Vietnam for supply of the BrahMos missile. In February, while replying to a question in Lok Sabha on whether the government has any plans to sell Akash and BrahMos missile to Vietnam, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre had said that India has held talks with the South Asian country on the issue.
“India and Vietnam share a strategic partnership. Defence cooperation, including supply of defence equipment, is an important aspect of this partnership. “Both countries have held discussions on range of issues in this regard,” he had said in a written reply. Vietnam, which is involved in a territorial dispute with China, is keen to get it hands on the supersonic missiles that can be fired on land, water and under water. The Brahmos missile system is jointly developed by India and Russia.