IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


25th July, 2023 Geography

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The transfer of the Indian Naval Ship Kirpan, an indigenously-built missile Corvette, from the Indian Navy to the Vietnam People's Navy (VPN) at Cam Ranh Bay in the South China Sea.


  • Indian Naval Ship Kirpan, an indigenously-built missile Corvette, completes 32 years of service in the Indian Navy.
  • It will be handed over to the Vietnam People's Navy (VPN) at Cam Ranh Bay, a strategic military port in the South China Sea.
  • The handover ceremony will be presided over by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar.

INS Kirpan's Background and Capabilities

  • INS Kirpan is a 1350-tonne missile Corvette equipped with a medium-range gun, close-range guns, chaff launchers, and surface-to-surface missiles.
  • It departed from Visakhapatnam on June 28, 2023, under the Indian Tricolour and reached Cam Ranh Bay on July 8, 2023.
  • Its transfer to the VPN marks the first instance of India gifting a fully operational corvette to any Friendly Foreign Country.

Enhancing India-Vietnam Defence Partnership

  • The gifting of INS Kirpan reaffirms the India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, focused on promoting peace, stability, and maritime safety in the Indo-Pacific Region.
  • India views Vietnam as a key partner in its Act East Policy and Indo-Pacific Vision, underlined by the Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) initiative.

Geo-Political Significance of Cam Ranh Bay

  • Cam Ranh Bay is considered an "ideal natural fortress" and holds strategic importance on international shipping routes.
  • Its geo-political position offers access to the Straits of Malacca, the South China and Java Sea, and the Pacific and Indian Ocean.
  • The bay was historically controlled by the American and Soviet fleets due to its strategic location.

Deepening India-Vietnam Defence Cooperation

  • Vietnam has been deepening its Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with India since 2016 to maintain peace, prosperity, and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Both countries signed a 'Joint Vision Statement on Defence Partnership towards 2030' and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Mutual Logistics Support, enhancing bilateral defense cooperation.

India's Contribution to Vietnam's Naval Capabilities

  • The transfer of INS Kirpan to Vietnam will enhance the capabilities of the Vietnamese Navy.

It will support coastal and offshore patrol, surface warfare, anti-piracy, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

Addressing China's Strategic Expansion

  • Vietnam's strengthening defence ties with India signal its desire for a less intertwined future with China.
  • The move comes amid concerns about China's strategic expansion in the region, particularly in the South China Sea.

About Cam Ranh Bay

  • Cam Ranh Bay is a strategically significant military port located in Vietnam's Khanh Hoa Province.
  • It is situated in the South China Sea and is regarded as a vital defence post in the Pacific Ocean.

Geographic Location and Importance

  • Cam Ranh Bay holds a prime geographic position on international shipping routes.
  • It offers access to critical waterways, including the Straits of Malacca, the South China and Java Sea, and the Pacific and Indian Ocean.
  • The bay's location has historically attracted the attention of major naval powers due to its strategic significance.

Historical Control and Influence

  • Cam Ranh Bay has been historically controlled by powerful naval fleets, including the American and Soviet fleets during the Cold War era.
  • The bay's deep and sheltered waters made it an ideal naval base and logistic hub for military operations.

Strategic Military Port

  • Cam Ranh Bay is known as an "ideal natural fortress" due to its natural advantages for military use.
  • Its deep waters and sheltered bay make it suitable for accommodating large naval vessels and submarines.


Q) Consider the following statements:

1. Cam Ranh Bay is located in Vietnam's Hai Phong province and is regarded as an ideal natural fortress due to its strategic position on international shipping routes.

2. The bay has historically been controlled by major naval powers such as China and Japan, leading to geopolitical tensions in the region.

Select the correct statements using the codes below:

(a)    1 only

(b)    2 only

(c)     Both 1 and 2

(d)    Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A