President Reuven Rivlin and his hosts in Vietnam, where he is currently on a state visit, have reached an agreement to increase military and other forms of cooperation.
On Tuesday, Rivlin opened one of the largest bilateral economic conferences ever held in Vietnam, where Shrage Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel and head of the business delegation on the visit, spoke of the rapid progress in multi-level relations between the two countries over the last five years.
Brosh and several of his colleagues first went to Vietnam with former president Shimon Peres in 2011 and made business contacts that have grown significantly since then, resulting in benefits to both countries.
During the global economic crisis of 2008, Israeli export manufacturers realized that they had find new markets and build cooperation with countries in Asia, Africa and South America, he said, adding that Asia’s economy has since flourished and Israel has made great headway in all those countries with which it has relations.
Vietnam has an annual economic growth rate of 7%. With the help of foreign investments the economic standards for Vietnam’s 95 million inhabitants has steadily improved.
Also on Tuesday, Rivlin met with Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and toured an exhibit of Israeli defense equipment. They were accompanied by Brig.-Gen. Michel Ben Baruch, head of SIBAT, the International Defense Cooperation Agency and heads of other Israeli firms, including Israel Military Industries, Elbit Systems, Rafael, Rinat, TSG IT, SK, Netline, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Aeronautics Ltd.
Some of the company leaders explained recent developments in pilotless planes, sophisticated tanks, rocket launchers and tracking rescue equipment.
Addressing the Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo, Rivlin said: “You and I grew up in countries which were battlefields.
We all know that quiet and peace on the security front should not be taken for granted. We also have to be fully aware of our military capability.”
Rivlin underscored that the army and the defense establishment have important roles not only in time of war but also in safeguarding peace.
Israel is a pioneer in advanced products and is willing to share its knowhow with Vietnam, he said, adding that security- related projects that Israel has with Vietnamese companies are just the tip of the iceberg in relation to potential cooperation.
“Israel is a small country, but a large powerhouse of innovation and advanced technology,” said Rivlin.
Ngo praised Israel’s ability to come up with solutions for future emergencies and create job opportunities in the process.