Even as Vietnam and China continue to conduct tit-for-tat naval maneuvers in the South China Sea, Hanoi has started making direct calls for foreign involvement in the two nations' maritime territorial dispute. While many commentators saw this as a thinly veiled invitation to the United States, it could also be a precursor to India establishing a permanent presence in Vietnamese waters. India has apparently responded favorably to Vietnam's offer of permanent berthing rights in Na Thrang port. The move would not only add military heft to India's "Look East" policy, but is also emblematic of a larger Indian effort to counter China's activities in South Asia.
Although Vietnam more than held its own in its 1979 border war with China, its record against the latter at sea is less impressive, as incidents in both 1974 and 1988 show. Even in 1979, Chinese naval action against Vietnam was only checked by the presence of Soviet ships. Since then the asymmetry in naval power between China and Vietnam has grown exponentially in the former's favor, while Hanoi has lost its Soviet-era security guarantees. Although Vietnam's decision to hold live naval drills in the wake of the cable-cutting incident in mid-June was seen as a show of resolve, it did little to temper ongoing Chinese surveys in disputed areas. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $18 monthly or $118/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- India’s Latest IAEA Deal Too Little, Too Late to Undo NPT Damage
- Strategic Horizons: What Lessons Will the U.S. Military Learn From Iraq’s Collapse?
- Global Insights: Learning From Iraq to Prepare for Afghanistan’s Post-2016 Future
- The Realist Prism: Instead of Isolating Putin’s Russia, U.S. Must Offer Alternatives
- Southeast Asia Struggles With Syrian Terror Nexus