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Indian premier offers loan, defense cooperation in Vietnam

Associated Press Associated Press 3/09/2016
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, escorted by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, left, inspects an honor guard during a welcome ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam Saturday, Sept.3, 2016. Military cooperation tops the agenda during Modi's stop in Vietnam, just before he travels to China to attend the G-20 summit. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh) © The Associated Press Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, escorted by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, left, inspects an honor guard during a welcome ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam Saturday, Sept.3, 2016. Military cooperation tops the agenda during Modi's stop in Vietnam, just before he travels to China to attend the G-20 summit. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

HANOI, Vietnam — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered Vietnam a loan of $500 million to strengthen its defense capacity amid China's intensifying presence in the disputed South China Sea.

The so-called "Line of Credit" was announced after Modi's talk with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc during his official visit to Hanoi, a day before he is scheduled to travel to China to attend the G-20 summit.

Military cooperation tops the discussions between Modi and Phuc.

A dozen agreements were signed, including one on cooperation of Indian and Vietnamese navies and a contract between an Indian shipbuilder and Vietnam's coast guard.

India, which also has a border dispute with China, has been vocal on the issues in the South China Sea, calling for freedom of passage in the international waters.

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