Return to the Scene of the Crime in Southeast Asia: Vietnam & Laos. @cleopaskal, Chatham House. @kellycurrie, 2049 Institute. @gordongchang.

Sep 08, 2016, 02:38 AM


(Photo: Some of the unexploded bombs in Laos. “Operation Menu was the codename of a covert United States Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombing campaign conducted in eastern Cambodia from 18 March 1969 until 26 May 1970, during the Vietnam War. The targets of these attacks were sanctuaries and Base Areas of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and forces of the Viet Cong, which utilized them for resupply, training, and resting between campaigns across the border in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The impact of the bombing campaign on the Khmer Rouge guerrillas, the PAVN, and Cambodian civilians in the bombed areas is disputed by historians.”

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Return to the Scene of the Crime in Southeast Asia: Vietnam & Laos. @cleopaskal, Chatham House. @kellycurrie, 2049 Institute. @gordongchang.

"NEW DELHI: India and Vietnam added a strong defence component to their relationship even as PM Narendra Modi and his counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc upgraded bilateral ties to a level Hanoi enjoys only with Russia and China. Describing Vietnam as a "strong pillar of India's 'Act East' policy," Modi said "our bilateral ties are based on strong mutual trust, understanding and convergence of views on various regional and global issues".

India has agreed to give a $500 million defence line of credit to help Vietnam source more military hardware from India.

Delhi and Hanoi signed a contract for fast offshore patrol vessels by L&T with Vietnam Border Guards under a $100 million letter of credit that had been given earlier. The defence cooperation will jump to a whole new level when India finally makes a decision to transfer the Brahmos missile to Vietnam, which has been on Hanoi's wishlist for some time. Modi said the credit was for "facilitating mutual defence cooperation" and the ties between the two countries would "contribute to stability, security and prosperity in this region". At an official luncheon, he said, "As partners, we must also take advantage of our synergies to face emerging regional challenges and exploit new opportunities."


"When President Obama becomes the first American president to visit communist Laos this week, he will arrive in what is the most heavily bombed country on earth, a country where people still face a daily danger from U.S. explosives dropped during the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago.

But the Obama visit, which will include a summit with Southeast Asian leaders, is not about the past but the future, and whether the U.S. can remain an effective counterweight to China’s ever-expanding financial and military clout.

And while Mr. Obama’s “pivot to Asia” remains at best a work in progress as his tenure winds down, there are some signs that his hosts welcome the chance to hedge their bets between the superpower across the Pacific and the emerging superpower on their doorstep.

Mr. Obama, who travels to Laos from the G-20 summit hosted by China in Hangzhou, will have bilateral meetings with Lao President Bounnhang Vorachith, who was promoted from the vice presidency in January, when several other top leaders shifted, prompting speculation that Vientiane wants to ease away from financial dependence on Beijing and revitalize traditional ties with Hanoi. If there is a shift, Mr. Obama would be happy to encourage it.

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