The Vietnamese army has just established a militia squadron in Kien Giang which is equipped with ships and specialized weapons amid the increasingly tense situation in the East Sea (South China Sea).
Vietnam’s state-controlled media in the past week said that the Standing Militia Squadron in Kien Giang is the first militia squadron established in the Mekong Delta region, with the task of “both protecting the sovereignty of the sea and islands while engaged in fishing.”
According to the Command of Military Region 9, the Militia Squadron in Kien Giang has the task of closely coordinating with forces such as the Navy, Coast Guard, Border Guard, and the province’s police to maintain a peaceful environment, prevent and fight crime, protect fishermen, and protect the country’s sovereignty over seas and islands.” In addition, the Militia Squadron will also exploit seafood for economic development as well as participate in rescue, according to the Command of Military Region 9.
VNExpress page said: “The militia fleet in Kien Giang is organized with 3 platoons equipped with 9 ships and weapons, specialized equipment, technical means, and synchronous support tools.”
Militia Squadron in Kien Giang
According to VNExpress, many members of the militia squadron are trained in command and technical expertise at the Naval Academy and military school.
Previously, in April, a permanent militia squadron in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau was also established.
According to the Vietnam People’s Army Newspaper (People’s Army), the establishment of a permanent militia squadron is part of a project dating from 2018 developed by the Central Military Commission of the Ministry of National Defense of Vietnam. Accordingly, the Standing Militia Squadron is a part of the Vietnam Maritime Self-Defense Force. In addition to the general task, the Standing Militia Squadron also has the task of patrolling, observing, scouting, collecting, and processing information in the air and at sea as well as affirming sovereignty over sea and islands…
Militia and Self-Defense online page quoted Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant, General Phan Van Giang, as saying that in the first phase, Vietnam will set up militia squadrons in six southern provinces. Central region, then expanded to 14 provinces, in the context of the situation in the region and the South China Sea “has been complicated at times.”
From City. In Ho Chi Minh City, Dr. Nguyen Nha, a researcher on the South China Sea, told VOA about the significance of establishing a militia squadron in Vietnam:
“This is a good initiative because the Navy will be supported by the militia fleet. The budget for the militia fleet is also lighter than that of the regular navy. Each locality is in charge, the local knowledge is also very good. This is a very good initiative to protect our sovereignty over the sea and islands in each locality.”
“Currently in the East Sea, Vietnam is dealing with foreigners’ violation of its sovereignty. Foreigners also conduct oil extraction in the EEZ of Vietnam, and if we use the militia fleet, it will be better to protect our sovereignty,” said Dr. Nguyen Nha.
Also from Ho Chi Minh City, Ph.D. Hoang Viet, an international law expert, commented to VOA that the establishment of these militia squadrons is in line with Vietnam’s strategy on the doctrine of People’s War at sea:
“This shows that Vietnam has gradually used the maritime militia to contribute to protecting Vietnam’s sovereignty and sovereign rights in the seas.”
When comparing the maritime militia of Vietnam and China, Ph.D. Hoang Viet said that the name may be similar, but the nature and scale, and the level of equipment are very different – “because the Chinese militia is well-equipped for a long time” and has “effectively supported the Chinese maritime surveillance force.”
On June 12, Nikkei Asia wrote: “For many years, Vietnamese experts said that China had developed a ‘maritime militia that has illegally operated in the waters of Vietnam and the Philippines, and clashed with foreign fishing boats – incidents that have resulted in many deaths.”