The two-day Naval passage exercise in the South China Sea in order to boost maritime cooperation between India and Vietnam culminated on Sunday, December 27. In an online post, the Indian Navy spokesperson highlighted that the ‘PASSEX’ exercise was aimed at reinforcing maritime Interoperability and jointness. The drill comes at a time when Beijing repeatedly sends its military ships in the South China Sea in a bid to assert its claim on the contested area.

According to a Press release, Indian Navy ship INS Kiltan was sent to the central Vietnamese city of Ho Chi Minh last week and participated in the joint drill on its way back. INS Kiltan, which arrived in the flood-hit central Vietnam on December 24 carried 15 tons of relief material. Since October, Vietnam has been devastated with floods which have now led to over 230 fatalities.

The relief package sent to Vietnam was a part of Mission Sagar III, which comes under Prime Minster’s Sagar act ( Security and growth of all-region). The mission not only strengthens the bond between two nations, but also reiterates India’s position as a dependable partner, ANI reported. It also established the Indian Navy as first responders and preferred security partner.