General says improving cooperation is army's key activity

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This picture taken on January 26, 2013 shows Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (R) waving from a Russian-made Sukhoi 30 MK2 jet as he visits a Vietnamese Air Force regiment based in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa.

2012 was a year filled with international cooperation activities in security and national defense for Vietnam, said Major General Tu Linh, former director of the Information Center of Military Science under the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense.

"Widening foreign relations and improving international relations in national defense and security is an important policy and a key part in developing the army," the government website recently quoted Linh as saying.

He said there have been many exchange visits by Vietnamese military delegations and those from other countries. National defense cooperation has been enforced at regional forums in 2012.

He said 2012 marked an active year with naval exchange activities with other countries in the region and in the world, including the US and India.

Last year, Vietnam's navy and marine police were equipped with new equipment "to satisfy demands for patrolling to protect our seas and islands, enforcing laws at sea and conducting search and rescue operations."

In March and October, Russia delivered four Svetlyak-class vessels armed with a 76.2mm AK-176M cannons, a six-barrel 30mm AK-630 gun mount and 16 Igla surface-to-air missiles.

In August, the Russian Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard completed the first of six Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines ordered by Vietnam.

On August 16, the Vietnam Marine Police Department received the first of the three ocean sentry turboprop airplanes CASA C-212 Aviocar - Series 400 from Airbus Military.

In October, Vietnam Marine Police Department launched the DN 2000. The vessel, 90m long, 14m wide and 7m high, is the force's biggest ship and can sail at 21 nautical miles per hour. It also has a landing platform for a Ka-28 naval helicopter.

"Vietnam is building an all-people national defense with comprehensive, balanced and synchronous strength"¦ to maintain national peace and stability and block destructive efforts and the risks of war and defeat all invasions in any form and on any scale," Linh said.

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