Last week, Vietnam and Belarus signed a new military technology accord in another boost to their defense relationship.
According to the Vietnamese army newspaper, the conclusion of the military technical cooperation agreement came on July 9 during the meeting of the existing Vietnam-Belarus inter-governmental joint committee on military technology cooperation.
While the exact contents of the pact are not publicly known, sources indicate that the focus is on telecommunications for the Vietnam People’s Army (PAVN). According to IHS Jane’s, it will also emphasize training PAVN technicians and engineers attached to the PAVN-run military industrial complex at state-owned Belarus defense industrial facilities.
Aside from the pact, the two sides also discussed how to improve their defense relationship more generally in talks led by Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Truong Quang Khanh and Belarusian Deputy Chairman of the State Military Industrial Committee Morozo Oleg Vladimirovich. Khanh, for instance, stressed that in addition to the sharing of technological and scientific applications, both sides should also focus on strengthening other areas such as personnel training and delegation exchanges.
Vietnam and Belarus already have a defense industrial partnership, and discussions about potential cooperation have broadened in recent years from just trade to technology transfer, training and joint production. Vietnam has been interested in upgrading its capabilities, and Belarus has been looking to several Southeast Asian markets for its technology and expertise – particularly those like Hanoi that also operate Soviet-era military equipment.
This is part of a broader relationship between the two countries that has been strengthening over the past few years. In May, Vietnam signed a free trade deal with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which also includes Belarus and Kazakhstan. Belarus has also said it hopes to elevate its relationship with Vietnam to the level of a strategic partnership. Further developments are expected during the upcoming visit of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to Vietnam.