Iran, China and Russia hold naval drills in Indian Ocean

January 21, 2022
The three countries started joint naval drills in 2019 in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman.
The three countries started joint naval drills in 2019 in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman.

TEHRAN — Iran, China and Russia on Friday began joint naval drills in the northern Indian Ocean on Friday, state media reported.

Navies from Iran's armed forces and Revolutionary Guards are taking part in the "2022 Marine Security Belt", Rear Admiral Mostafa Tajoldini, spokesman for the drills, said.

The report said the maneuvers would cover some 17,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean's north, and include night fighting, rescue operations and firefighting drills.

The drills will include various tactical exercises such as rescuing a burning vessel, releasing a hijacked vessel, and shooting at air targets at night.

He said the exercises began in the early hours of Friday morning.

This is the third joint naval drill between the countries since 2019. It coincided with a recent visit by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Russia that ended Thursday.

"The purpose of this drill is to strengthen security and its foundations in the region, and to expand multilateral cooperation between the three countries to jointly support world peace, maritime security and create a maritime community with a common future," Tajoldini said.

“Improving bilateral relations between Tehran and Moscow will enhance security for the region and the international arena,” Raisi said upon returning from Russia on Friday, the official IRNA news agency reported. Raisi met his Russian counterpart in Moscow on Thursday.

Since coming to office last June, Iran's hardline President has pursued a "look east" policy to deepen ties with China and Russia. Tehran joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in September, a central Asian security body led by Beijing and Moscow.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian visited China last week.

Tehran has sought to step up military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow amid regional tensions with the United States. Visits to Iran by Russian and Chinese naval representatives have also increased in recent years. — Agencies

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