Vietnam has turned into one of the world’s most active arms importers, with Hanoi buying more weaponry than wealthy Asian countries like South Korea and Singapore. During the period of 2011-2015, Vietnam has emerged as the eighth- largest arms importer which is a huge leap from the previous five-year period when it was in 43rd place.
According to the latest annual study of global arms patterns released by the leading think tank- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Vietnam’s arms imports rose by 699 percent in between 2011-2015 where it accounted for roughly three percent of global purchases.
India, which imported 14% of globally traded arms, topped the list, followed by Saudi Arabia and China.
On the other hand, according to the London based IHS Jane’s, within Southeast Asia the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam were the three countries that registered the fastest-growing defense budgets for 2015 relative to the previous year.
Observers think that in Vietnam’s case, the country’s military modernization is due to a variety of factors, one major driver is no doubt the South China Sea disputes. Territorial disputes in the South China Sea have driven Vietnam to invest heavily in its navy and air force to help it defend maritime claims, which are contested by China and other neighboring countries.Vietnam is in the process of boosting its military capabilities, including jet fighters, naval frigates, and attack submarines. In the meantime reports suggest that Hanoi had deployed the first of its Kilo-class submarines from Russia to the South China Sea.
[Compiled By: Fakhrul Islam, Source: The Wall Street Journal, The Diplomat, Jane’s]