The Vietnamese Army has around 450,000 soldiers in active service and another five million in reserve, a senior military officer said at a meeting held in Hanoi last Friday to brief foreign military attachés.
Quan doi nhan dan (People's Army) newspaper quoted Col Nguyen Anh Duong of the Institute of Defense Strategies as saying there are also units that provide logistics and technology and training academies.
Vietnam is modernizing its military "step by step" to maintain a "necessary level" of strength for self-defense.
It is "normal" and "necessary" given the international and regional situation, he said.
Vietnam's defense policy is about peace and self-defense and not about using aggression or threats to do so in its international ties and resolving disputes with other countries, Duong said.
Vietnam opposes any kind of arms race, he stressed.
Major Nguyen Hong Quan, deputy chief of the institute, said that since 2006 the country has signed 26 defense agreements with other countries, mainly in areas like army medical training and technology transfer.
The meeting was arranged by the institute and the Ministry of Defense's Foreign Affairs Department.
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