India should Arm and Train Vietnamese Soldiers & Pilots to the Teeth to counter China's Pak adventure
Indian specialists will train Vietnamese pilots to fly Russian Su-30MK2 fighter planes. In a commentary for Sputnik China, Moscow-based military expert Vasily Kashin said this will add a new dimension to the defense cooperation between India and Vietnam.
India has long been trying to step up its military and technical cooperation with Vietnam in a bid to play a bigger role in Southeast Asia. “In 2013 India started training crews for Project 6361 submarines Vietnam was buying in Russia and, judging from media reports, New Delhi will soon be selling BrahMos anti-ship missiles to Hanoi,” Kashin told Sputnik China.
The SU30-MKI fighter jets used by the Indian Air Force differ from the less sophisticated SU-MK2s Vietnamese pilots fly on in that they have forward horizontal fins and variable thrust engines.
Indian Air Force pilots started flying on the heavy Su-30 fighters even before their Russian colleagues and now rank among the world’s top guns.
“During a joint drill with their US colleagues in 2005, Indian pilots on Su-30MKIs made easy work of the USAF airmen flying F-15 fighter jets. In a similar exercise with British Air Force pilots in 2016 Indian aces prevailed over Eurofighter Typhoons, which proves once again that the Sukhoi fighters are really hard to beat,” Vasily Kashin noted.
“This also means that there are a lot of useful things Vietnamese pilots can learn from their Indian colleagues,” he added.
Vietnam’s experience in this field could be emulated by its Southeast Asian neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia, which have their own pool of Russian-made Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets.
“The use of similar types of Russian-supplied weapons could make India a major partner for a number of ASEAN countries where it comes to pilot training, maintenance and upgrading sophisticated aircraft,” Kashin continued.
Not to be outdone, China too is ramping up its own supplies of advanced weaponry to the ASEAN countries, above all to Malaysia and Thailand, and is trying to step up its military contacts with the regional powers.
The US is also trying to build up its presence in Southeast Asia, just like Russia and the EU countries, which are expanding military-technical cooperation with the region and regularly dispatching their naval ships there.
“Such a competition between the great powers could be beneficial to the ASEAN countries helping them to become more independent both politically and militarily,” Vasily Kashin said in conclusion