India gifts INS Kirpan warship to Vietnam Navy: In a significant move to enhance its strategic and military relations in China’s backyard, India Saturday handed over a fully operational warship of Indian Navy to its close military ally Vietnam. This is for the first time when India has offered a fully operational missile corvette to Vietnam as Indian Navy first decommissioned INS Kirpan and handed it over to Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN).
The handing over ceremony took place at Cam Ranh in Vietnam. Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and Rear Admiral Pham Manh Hung, Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Chief of Staff of Vietnam Navy presided the handing over ceremony in presence of other diplomatic and military officers from both the countries.
Indian Navy’s INS Kirpan warship
INS Kirpan is an indigenously-built missile corvette. The warship was decommissioned after completing 32 years of service to be gifted to Vietnam. The lethal warship was handed over to VPN with a complete weapon complement.
Since its commissioning in 1991, the ship has been an integral part of the Navy’s Eastern Fleet and has participated in several operations, said Indian Navy.
INS Kirpan is manned by about 12 officers and 100 sailors and is 90 meters long and 10.45 meters in width with a maximum displacement of 1,450 tons.
Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said what made the occasion even more significant is the fact that this is the first-ever occasion that India is offering a fully-operational corvette to any friendly foreign country.
“It is a matter of great honour for me to be a part of the handing over ceremony of one of the finest and longest-serving warships of the Indian Navy – Kirpan, to the esteemed Vietnam People’s Navy,” said the top officer of Indian Navy.
India said the transfer of INS Kirpan from the Indian Navy to the Vietnam People’s Navy symbolises the status of the Indian Navy of being the ‘Preferred Security partner’ in the Indian Ocean Region and would be a catalyst for enhancing the existing bilateral relations between the two navies.
The development is significant amid a growing Chinese influence in the South China Sea, which is giving rise to territorial disputes with Vietnam in the region. As a country, Vietnam has been a close Indian ally and has always resisted Chinese military and naval forays into South China Sea.
India-Vietnam defence relations
India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh met his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang in Hanoi when he visited the country last year. India announced extension of a $500 million Defence Line of Credit to Vietnam.
Indian defence minister also handed over 12 high-speed guard boats to Vietnam at a ceremony at the Hong Ha Shipyard during the visit.
Both countries also signed a Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030 and had inked a pact on Mutual Logistics Support to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation between them.
During the visit, Rajnath Singh also announced gifting two simulators and monetary grant towards setting up of Language and IT Lab at Air Force Officers Training School for capacity building of Vietnamese Armed Forces.
Vietnam is also looking at buying BrahMos supersonic missiles from India. India has already sold the lethal cruise missiles to Philippines.