Seventy three years ago, on January 20, 1949, at Xiengkhor Base in Sam Neua province (now Houaphan province), the Communist Party of Indochina established Latxavong Company, the official armed unit commanded by Comrade Kaysone Phomvihane.

Vietnamese Defense Minister General Phan Van Giang (right) and Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister General Chansamone Chanyalath sign cooperation documents within the framework of the first Vietnam-Laos border defense friendship exchange.

Afterwards, other armed groups throughout the country jointed the company to become the Free Laotian Army, the predecessor of the Lao People's Army today. Since then, January 20 has become the foundation day of the Lao People's Army.

During the two resistance wars of the two peoples, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Laos People's Revolutionary Party, with the support and protection of the two peoples, the Vietnam People's Army and the Lao People's Army always stood side by side to overcome fiercest challenges of the history to reach the final victory.

Promoting the traditions of solidarity and a special combat alliance, the two sides have increasingly strengthened their relationship and deepened the bilateral defense cooperation to become one of the important pillars of the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

In the context of the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the defense cooperation between the two countries has been effectively implemented with many positive results, particularly the completion of cooperative mechanisms through the signing of agreements on border guard, search and rescue, Party and political work, training and mutual aid and assistance.

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Laos, Vietnam  was the first country to give medical supplies and send experts to the country. The timely support of the Vietnam People's Army has contributed to the pandemic prevention and control in Laos. Most recently, the two sides successfully organized the first Vietnam-Laos border defense friendship exchange - an activity of great political significance, contributing to consolidating and promoting the special relationship between Vietnam and Laos in general and between the militaries of the two countries in particular, thereby creating momentum for the two sides towards the Friendship and Solidarity Year of Vietnam-Laos and Laos-Vietnam in 2022.

“It can be said that the defense cooperation between Vietnam and Laos has been increasingly consolidated and strengthened in all fields, becoming an important pillar in the relationship between the two countries. I believe that it will be the main flow of Vietnam-Laos defense cooperation in the coming time,” Lao Ambassador to Vietnam Sengphet Houngboungnuang talked to the press on the occasion of the first Vietnam-Laos border defense friendship exchange.

The 73rd founding anniversary of the Lao People’s Army is a great opportunity to review the traditional special friendship between the two parties, states, people and militaries. Both sides can be forever proud of the resounding traditions of the Vietnam People’s Army and the Lao People’s Army in the twentieth century.

Translated by Trung Thanh