Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/04/2012 -- This Vietnam Defence and Security Report examines the country's strategic position in South-East Asia and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country, and the challenges it may face in the future.
The report examines the trends occurring in the country's current and future defence procurement, and the order of battle across its armed forces. The intention is to provide a clear and concise discussion of these issues. The report's general conclusion is that as Vietnam embarks on the costly process of modernising its armed forces, would-be partners from around the world have begun lining up in the hope of securing a share of what could become a lucrative growth market for defence technology.
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In particular, Russia, the traditional supplier of most of Hanoi's weaponry, has signalled that it has every intention of preserving its hold over the Vietnamese market. However, new parties are showing a keen interest in improving their strategic ties with Vietnam, including India, Japan, Singapore and the United States.
Vietnam also faces some important strategic choices as it balances the interests of China and the United States. Hanoi has experienced friction in its relations with Beijing over territorial issues in the South China Sea. However, in BMI's view Vietnam understands that it must maintain cordial relations with the Chinese in order to safeguard its security and also its economy.
Meanwhile, the US's 'pivot' to Asia means that Vietnam's relations with Washington are set to improve. However, BMI regards Vietnam as a country that is especially protective of its strategic independence, and Hanoi can therefore be expected to foster friendly ties with both China and the US, while formally allying itself with neither power.
Over the last quarter BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:
- The visit of the US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta to Vietnam in June 2012 is discussed in detail. This was a landmark in US-Vietnam relations. Washington's objective is to secure permission to use the Cam Ranh Bay naval base as a port for US Navy ships. For its part, Hanoi wants the US to drop its arms embargo and lend support to Vietnam's military modernisation effort. Both sides have much to gain from improved ties.
- The situation in the South China Sea is also reviewed. Although Sino-Vietnamese tensions have eased in 2012, China continues to confront other ASEAN countries - notably the Philippines - over disputed maritime territories. Vietnam remains directly involved in diplomatic efforts to find a lasting solution to the South China Sea disputes, with recent the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting in Phnom Penh and the Shangri-La Dialogue Asian security summit in Singapore having been held in May and June 2012 respectively.
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