By joining the games, the VPA has learnt valuable experience in mastering weapons and military equipment and conducting operation and training while strengthening defense cooperation with Russia and other participating countries and territories. Achievements gained from the event have contributed to affirming the role of defense relations work in Vietnam’s strategy on early safeguarding the nation from afar. 

Vietnam’s successful Army Games

The Army Games 2021 is considered the most successful Army Games of the VPA. In spite of competing with strong rivals in the international environment and unfavorable weather conditions, the Vietnamese delegation strove with their highest determination and ranked seventh out of 42 participating countries and territories in their fourth participation in the games. 

At the Army Games 2021, the VPA sent 17 contingents to compete in 15 contests of the games. After 14 days of competition, the VPA delegation won one gold, two silver and four bronze medals. Notably, the Contingent of the Vietnam’s People Navy bagged a silver medal at the “Sea Cup” event, and the Meridian Contingent clinched a bronze medal for the first time participating in the Army Games. Other contingents were successful in sustaining their good performances they had made at previous games. Many Vietnamese competitors won first, second and third prizes in individual stages of different events.

The Contingent of the Vietnam’s People Navy bagged a silver medal in their first participation in the “Sea Cup” event of the Army Games

The performances of the Vietnamese contingents have been praised by other participating countries, the juries and Russian defense leaders. Major General Alexander Peryazev, Deputy Chief of the General Department of Combat Training under the Russian Armed Forces, held that the Vietnamese delegation obtained significant achievements, which derived from their intensive training and strict observance of military discipline and competition regulations.  

Talking about the Vietnamese troops’ performances at the Army Games 2021, Major General Pham Van Thai, Deputy Director of the Department of Military Training under the VPA’s General Staff, affirmed that one of the achievements the Vietnamese troops made at the event was their high determination in training and competition. Despite harsh weather conditions, complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and stricter competition regulations, the Vietnamese competitors did their best to bring glory to the nation.

Watching Vietnamese troops’ performances, many international friends evaluated that VPA athletes’ achievements were more than medals. With their determination and efforts, they won a much more honorable and valuable “medal” of respect, affection and admiration from members of other participating countries, the juries and spectators. Lieutenant Sergei, a member of the Russian Signal Contingent, said in spite of having a smaller build, Vietnamese athletes have demonstrated their admirable skills and efforts, beating many stronger teams to rank high.

More especially, this year, Vietnam hosted two contests of the games, the “Sniper Frontier” and “Emergency Area.” In spite of hosting the competition for the first time in the context of the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam successfully completed its task, ensuring absolute safety for participating delegations. Its preparations for the contests and efforts to keep participating athletes safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic were highly appreciated by participating delegations and Russian defense leaders.

Apart from impressive performances, Vietnam impresses participating delegations with its strict observance of COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control regulations. In photo, members of Vietnamese "Sniper Frontier" Contingents wearing facemasks while receiving medals

In his speech at the closing ceremony of the “Sniper Frontier” and “Emergency Area” contests, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Aleksey Yurievich Krivoruchko said that he was impressed with Vietnam’s thorough preparations and organization of the event. Despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam did its best to successfully host the event and to ensure absolute safety for participating delegations.

Meanwhile, Rear Admiral Subbotin Andrey Nikolaevich, Deputy Director of General Department 12 of the Russian Ministry of Defense, used the words “beyond expectation” to evaluate Vietnam’s preparations of facilities for the two contests in Vietnam. 

A playground for experience sharing 

Army Games is an initiative of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and is held annually since 2015 in different countries. Apart from strengthening cooperation and mutual trust and understanding among participating countries and spreading the pure spirit of global peace and friendship, another important goal of the event is to create a useful playground for troops from different militaries to share their experience and skills.

Sharing the same view with Russia, in recent years, the VPA has actively participated in the games and considers it a good opportunity for Vietnamese troops to demonstrate their capabilities and skills and gain lessons in mastering weapons and military equipment and conducting training and military operations from their foreign peers.

Vietnam’s first participation in the Army Games was in 2018 when it sent three contingents to compete in the “Tank Biathlon,” “Military Medical Relay Race,” and “Field Kitchen” contests. At the Army Games 2019 taking place from July 25 to August 20, the VPA had eight teams competing in contests in Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Belarus. In 2020, more than 200 personnel of 11 contingents of the VPA participated in the event. This year, the country sent the highest-ever number of troops to the games and for the first time hosted two events.

After four times participating in the Army Games, from struggling to get used to new weapons, military equipment and vehicles in their first participation in 2018, the Vietnamese contingents this year defeated many stronger rivals to bring home medals of different kinds, including a gold one. The improving results of the Vietnamese delegation through different editions of the games have proved the values of lessons and experience that they learnt from the games to the development of the VPA.

Army Games is an opportunity for Vietnamese troops to raise their capabilities and skills.

There is the fact that currently it is hard to assess the combat power of any militaries as not many of them have been involved in real wars. In addition, the domestic, bilateral, and multilateral exercises do not always truly reflect the overall military capabilities of each country. Therefore, the Army Games is considered a good opportunity for troops from different arms and services of participating countries to show their capabilities in responding to real training and combat situations, thus helping their countries objectively evaluate their troops’ professional competence.

By joining the Army Games, the VPA has an objective evaluation of its troops’ capabilities of using modern weapons, military equipment and vehicles and maintaining combat readiness and conducting field training exercises. Thanks to these valuable assessment and experience, the country has adjusted and developed new training programs to improve its quality of military training to build the VPA into a revolutionary, regular, elite, and modernized military.

A practical step for early protection of nation from afar by peaceful means

Defense diplomacy is one of the important diplomatic channels, together with the Party’s, State’s and People-to-people diplomacy, to safeguard the national sovereignty by peaceful means on the basis of international law, thus building strategic trust and raising the status of the VPA in particular and Vietnam in general in the international arena. Through implementing defense relations activities, Vietnam could take full advantage of all resources to build the military and consolidate national defense to firmly safeguard the nation.

The Vietnam National Defense White Paper released in 2019 clearly affirmed, “Implementing the international integration and defense diplomacy strategy under the guidance of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPA) is an important mission and a stratagem to defend the country from afar by peaceful means. It also serves to establish and consolidate conviction in the protection of national interests, to ensure equality and mutual benefits, to preserve a peaceful, stable environment for national development, and to combine national power with power of the times to generate aggregated strength, improve the country's international status, and solidify its independence and self-reliance.

Vietnam accelerates international integration and defense diplomacy under the motto “activeness, pro-activeness, solidity, flexibility, effectiveness” with the aim of bringing into full play its overall power, preserving a peaceful and stable environment, and making the most of international support and assistance.

Besides, it strives to promote strategic trust, maintain a peaceful environment and cooperation for mutual development, and strengthen the national defense and security postures for national defense and construction. This is a process of struggle along with cooperation, in which cooperation is prioritized on the basis of firmly safeguarding territorial sovereignty, independence, self-determination, self-reliance, and national interests.”

The Vietnamese and English versions of the Vietnam National Defense White Paper released in 2019 (Photo:

In realizing the strategy, the VPA has actively participated in various security forums and regional and international multilateral exercises, such as the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Moscow Conference on International Security, the Komodo Multilateral Naval Exercise, the Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference, and U.N. peacekeeping operations. More especially, in recent years, apart from traditional cooperation channels, the VPA has actively taken part in activities within the Army Games.

At different meetings, Vietnamese defense leaders highly appreciated the significance of Vietnam’s participation in the Army Games. They affirmed that it is a sound and practical guideline, in line with the Vietnamese Party’s and State’s foreign policy in general and the VPA’s military-defense diplomacy which clearly state that Vietnam wants to make friends with all countries and militaries for peace of each nation and the world. Through the Army Games, Vietnam has strengthened cooperation and mutual trust and understanding with other participating countries, especially Russia - its reliable comprehensive strategic partner.

Flags of participating countries and Army Games flying in Vietnam

Looking back upon the history of cooperation between Vietnam and Russia, we see that since the two countries set up their diplomatic ties more than seven decades ago, their relations have been developing strongly with achievements recorded in all fields. Among cooperation mechanisms, cooperation within the framework of the Vietnam-Russia Tropical Center is considered a model in the bilateral traditional friendship. In recent years, together with the Vietnam-Russia Tropical Center, the Army Games has become another effective channel for the VPA to strengthen the time-honored friendship with Russia, contributing to boosting bilateral defense cooperation in particular and comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries in general.

It is clear that by joining different external defense relations activities, including the Army Games, the VPA has demonstrated its activeness in realizing the country’s guidelines on early safeguarding the nation from afar. Through activities, participating Vietnamese troops have helped international friends learn more about a peace-loving Vietnam and a heroic VPA, which always want to foster cooperation with other countries to build a peaceful world. Thanks to that bottom line, Vietnam has gained trust and support from international friends and community and raised its status in the international arena, contributing to protecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity and maintaining regional and international peace, stability and security.

The guideline of early safeguarding of the nation from afar is credited as a unique defense and military diplomacy strategy of Vietnam. It is also defined in the resolution of the 13th National Party Congress. In the resolution, the CPV affirms the need of developing a strategy to prevent the risks of war and conflicts from afar and trying the best to prevent conflicts and wars and deal with disputes by peaceful means. The VPA’s participation in the Army Games is one of the important steps to effectively implement that strategy.


It is not a coincidence that the VPA actively participates in the Army Games. The decision mostly comes from its activeness and pro-activeness in strengthening international cooperation so as to safeguard the country from afar and build a world of peace and friendship.

Tran Hoai