The Indian and Vietnamese navies have conducted a passage exercise (PASSEX) in the South China Sea.

According to local media reports, an Indian warship INS Kiltan participated in the exercise after delivering relief material for flood-affected people in central Vietnam.

This comes at a time when China is increasing its influence in the South China Sea. Separately, China is also embroiled in a military face-off with India in the region of Ladakh since May this year.

In a Twitter post, Indian Navy spokesperson said that the exercise will help in reinforcing maritime interoperability and jointness.

Recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed to boost overall defence and security cooperation between the two countries during a virtual summit.

According to an India Today report, the Indian Navy had also conducted two-day PASSEX with the Russian Navy in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region (IOR) earlier this month.

Overall, the Indian Navy participated in 13 bilateral and multilateral exercises this year.

It includes the Malabar Exercise where the maritime forces from Australia, India, Japan, and the US participated to improve interoperability.

Earlier this month, the Indian Navy test-fired an anti-ship version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory. The missile successfully hit a decommissioned ship.

BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, developed jointly by India and Russia, is currently used by all the three divisions of the Indian Armed Forces.