China-Russia-Iran drills in Gulf of Oman not directed against other countries — top brass

China-Russia-Iran drills in Gulf of Oman not directed against other countries — top brass
# 28 March 2024 15:40 (UTC +04:00)

The joint naval drills held by China, Russia and Iran in the Gulf of Oman were not directed against other countries, Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Wu Qian told a briefing on Thursday, APA reports citing TASS.

"These drills are not directed against any specific country and have nothing to do with the regional situation," the spokesman said.

Previously, China, Russia and Iran held several joint drills that "have large significance for closer cooperation and exchanges among the navies of the three countries and joint regional maritime security provision," he stressed.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on March 14 that warships from the Russian, Chinese and Iranian navies had wrapped up the active phase of their joint naval exercise Maritime Security Belt 2024 in the Gulf of Oman.

Over the two days of the drills, Russian naval sailors practiced missions together with their Iranian and Chinese counterparts to carry out joint maneuvering, hold a communications exercise, fire large-caliber machineguns and small-caliber artillery against surface and aerial targets day and night, and also trained in freeing a vessel seized by pirates, it specified.

The international naval maneuvers Maritime Security Belt were held for the sixth time. They ran for the first time in the waters of the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean in 2018. Combat ships from the Russian, Chinese and Iranian navies participate in the maneuvers on a constant basis.

This year, the joint naval maneuvers involved more than 20 combat ships, support vessels and gunboats from the Russian, Iranian and Chinese navies. Naval aviation helicopters were broadly employed in the drills. The naval maneuvers aimed to practice measures for ensuring the safety of maritime economic activity.

Representatives of the navies of Azerbaijan, India, Kazakhstan, Oman, Pakistan and the South African Republic took part in the naval maneuvers as observers for the first time.