In a gesture of friendship and cooperation, India announced the gifting of the in-service missile corvette INS Kirpan to Vietnam during the recent visit of Gen Phan Van Giang, Minister of Defence of Vietnam, from 17 to 19 June 2023. The decision was made by Raksha Mantri, the Defence Minister of India, and today, INS Kirpan embarked on its final journey from India to Vietnam, as it cast off from Visakhapatnam.
INS Kirpan, the third indigenously built Khukri class missile corvette, has been an active participant in the Indian Navy. Equipped with an impressive array of weapons and sensors, the vessel has been involved in various operational and humanitarian assistance operations.
As part of the gifting process, INS Kirpan set sail from Visakhapatnam and will soon be handed over to the Vietnam People’s Navy upon its arrival in Vietnam. A ceremonial function was held at the Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam, where officers and personnel bid farewell to the ship, led by VAdm Sanjay Vatsayan, Chief of Staff of the Eastern Naval Command.
India and Vietnam have a long history of linkages, and their existing relations are built on strong foundations of culture and economics. The two countries upgraded their relationship from a Strategic Partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in September 2016. In the defense sector, their cooperation is based on mutual strategic interests, a shared vision for regional stability, and upholding the rules-based international order.
Over the past decade, the relationship between India and Vietnam has flourished, particularly in the defense sector, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation in November 2009. In June 2022, the Defense Ministers of both countries signed a ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defense Partnership towards 2030.’
Maritime cooperation plays a crucial role in the bilateral relationship, with both navies engaging extensively through frequent operational interactions, structured periodic dialogues, and information sharing mechanisms. This navy-to-navy cooperation includes initiatives aimed at capacity building and capability enhancement, such as the supply of spares, ship repairs, deputation of instructors, and regular goodwill visits by naval ships and delegations.
The transfer of the indigenously built in-service missile corvette, INS Kirpan, from the Indian Navy to the Vietnam People’s Navy, reflects India’s commitment to assisting like-minded partners in enhancing their capacity and capability. This transfer aligns with India’s vision of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam‘ (the world is one family) and ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).’ Notably, this marks the first occasion of India gifting a fully operational corvette to any friendly foreign country.
The gifting of INS Kirpan signifies the strengthening bonds between India and Vietnam and highlights their shared interests in maritime security and regional stability. It serves as a testament to the growing partnership and cooperation between the two nations, paving the way for deeper engagement and collaboration in the future.