The 54 foreign and Indian ships that were anchored for review by President Pranab Mukherjee sailed out of Visakhapatnam yesterday evening.

As per the maritime tradition, visiting foreign ships are generally escorted to the open seas on their way home.

"The PASSEX was aimed at fostering greater cooperation and camaraderie with friendly foreign navies, increasing interoperability, providing the requisite operational element to IFR", a Navy official said today.

The Passage Exercise was conducted in two groups, centred on Indian Naval aircraft carriers  INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat.

The ships sailed out in two groups of 27 ships each, with the first group under the command of Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, on board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

The second group was under the command of Rear Admiral S.V. Bhokare, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet embarked on board the aircraft carrier INS Viraat and included manoeuvres and flying operations.

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