Indian naval ship conducts ‘passage exercise’ with Vietnamese Navy in South China Sea India News
The Indian warship INS Kiltan was dispatched to deliver relief supplies for people affected by the floods in central Vietnam and participated in the exercise on Saturday on its return trip, it said.
The exercise took place at a time when China has been expanding its military assertiveness in the South China Sea despite growing global concerns and criticism.
“PASSEX Step Exercise (conducted) between the Indian Navy and the Vietnamese People’s Navy on Dec 26, 2020. Strengthening maritime interoperability and articulation,” the Indian Navy tweeted on Sunday.
#PASSEX approval exercise between #IndianNavy and #Vietnam People’s Navy on December 26, 20. Reinforcing # Maritime… https://t.co/dqipn3rm24
– SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) 1609066047000
INS Kiltan had arrived at Ho Chi Minh City’s Nha Rhang port last Thursday with 15 tons of relief materials for people affected by the floods in central Vietnam.
The Defense Ministry had said on Thursday that the ship would conduct a passing exercise with the Vietnamese People’s Navy in the South China Sea upon its departure from Ho Chi Minh City.
More than 230 people died in central Vietnam due to the floods that devastated the region in October-November this year.
Last Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a virtual summit with his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, during which both sides promised to boost general defense and security cooperation, including in the maritime sphere.
In the wake of China’s growing show of military force in the South China Sea region, the two leaders specifically reaffirmed the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.
The Defense Ministry had also said Thursday that the emergency aid sent by India to Vietnam reflects the deep connection between peoples between the two friendly countries.
He said relief materials will be delivered to Vietnam’s central steering committee for disaster prevention and control at the national level.
Vietnam, a major ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) country, has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea region.
India has oil exploration projects in the Vietnamese waters of the South China Sea.
China claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei, have made counterclaims.