Vietnam reduces arms dependence on Russia


Missile defence: Military arms displayed at the Vietnam International Defence Expo 2022, in Hanoi. — Reuters

HANOI is eyeing a major defence shift as it seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian arms and launch a push to export locally made weapons, officials and analysts said, with possible buyers in Africa, Asia – and potentially even Moscow.

The South-East Asian nation is one of the world’s 20 biggest buyers of weapons, with an annual budget for arms imports estimated at about US$1bil (RM4.39bil) and set to grow, according to GlobalData, a provider of military procurement intelligence. Most of that money has historically gone to Russia, which was for decades Vietnam’s main supplier of weapons and defence systems.

That made Vietnam one of the top buyers of Russian arms, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which tracks global military expenditures.

But that is changing as Vietnam strives to become more self sufficient, obtain advanced gear that Russia can’t provide, and faces Western pressure to reduce arms purchases from Moscow, analysts said. Instead, Vietnam is turning to suppliers from Europe, East Asia, India, Israel and the United States, diplomats, officials and analysts said. It has also boosted its domestic military industry with support from Israel and other partners, and hopes to export weapons, analysts and officials said. — Reuters

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