Vietnam and India send warships to transit South China Sea
Earlier this month, three countries sent military units to transit the sensitive Taiwan Strait
Vietnam and India became the latest countries on Saturday to dispatch their warships into the South China Sea amid increased regional tensions.
The Dec. 26 transit was a "passage exercise" aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two countries, the Indian Navy announced.
The joint mission revolved around humanitarian aid from India after flooding in Vietnam, the Indian Navy wrote on Twitter. India sent the INS Kiltan to deliver aid, and on the return trip was joined for an exercise by ships from Vietnam.
The exercise came in the wake of international freedom of navigation transits amid increasingly assertive actions in the area from China.
Earlier this month, three countries sent military units to transit the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
The U.S. Navy's guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin sailed through the channel on a routine mission that drew quick rebuke from Beijing, which claims to have shadowed the American warship. China then sent a naval strike group featuring its new aircraft carrier, the Shandong, prompting Taiwan to send six warships and eight military aircraft to monitor the Chinese ships.
The Saturday exercise was meant to reinforce jointness, the Indian Navy wrote on Twitter.