Russia, China and Iran have begun a joint naval exercise in the northern Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman, the Iranian Navy said.
"These exercise's message is peace, friendship, and stable security," Iranian navy spokesman Gholamreza Tahani said, as quoted by the military's website.
The drill codenamed Naval Security Belt would cover the area of 17,000 kilometers.
On December 27-30 2019, the participants will exercise fighting terrorism and piracy, as well as providing regional security, according to Iran's ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali. The drill would also would include sharing experience of naval rescue operations.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during his visit to Moscow that the drill is not aimed against other countries.
Deputy Director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University Andrey Karneev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that this drill is unique for China.
"The format of naval drills with Iran has been activated for the first time. The Indian Ocean is important for China, because energy and goods supply routes go through it. China positions itself as a power presenting in different regions of the world, with the Indian Ocean being its central zone of attention. It's not a secret that the U.S. is trying to create a scheme with a transparent anti-Chinese focus in the Indo-Pacific region, and it is important for China to demonstrate a determination to face up this," he said.
"In addition, Russia and China have repeatedly conducted exercises in East Asia and the Mediterranean. Holding exercises in the Indian Ocean will allow us to accumulate experience of interaction and work out logistic schemes," Andrei Karneev added.
Editor-in-chief of 'National Defense' magazine Igor Korotchenko, in turn, said that In these exercises, Russia aims to ensure combat coordination and joint fulfillment of tasks with the friendly naval forces of China and Iran. "There is also an understanding that the demonstration of the flag is necessary in all areas of the oceans that are important in terms of Russia's interests. And, of course, this is our contribution to ensuring the stability of the international and military-political situation, which is actively shaken by the United States and its partners. I believe the drills will be successful, our fleet will once again demonstrate its capabilities and will work out the whole range of training and combat missions," he said.