MANILA— The Philippine Navy's second missile-capable warship took part in a maritime exercise with two Indian warships in the disputed West Philippine Sea on Monday.
According to the Navy, the BRP Antonio Luna met INS Ranvijay and INS Kora off the northwestern coast of Palawan before the conduct of the "Maritime Partnership Exercise," which involved "several operational maneuvers at sea."
"Both navies were very much satisfied with the outcome of these interactions that focus on enhanced interoperability and collaboration," the Philippine Navy said.
Since being commissioned earlier this year, the BRP Antonio Luna has been taking part in maritime drills with friendly foreign counterparts to improve capabilities.
“As a newly-commissioned vessel of the Philippine Navy, BRP Antonio Luna is anticipated to be at par with her foreign counterparts and it is a breath of fresh air to see our modern navy partake in these maritime partnership exercises,” Col. Antonio Mangoroban Jr, acting commander of Naval Forces West, said in a statement.
The ship is currently assigned to the Naval Forces West under the AFP Western Command.
The Philippine Navy said the exercise was "contactless" and in compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols.
"After the exercise, the Indian naval ships are scheduled to call at Manila Port for replenishment," the military branch said.
The maritime drill came amid Manila's disputes with Beijing, which aggressively asserts its claims over almost the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, which is the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines in the waters.
An international arbitration court has invalidated the basis of China's claims.
India's relations with the superpower also has deteriorated since a clash in the Ladakh region on June 15 in which 20 Indian troops were killed.