India joins Iran-Russia joint navy drill; China also to take part
Iranian forces have launched a two-day navy exercise with Russia in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, with India also joining in and China expected to take part, too.
Forces and vessels from the navy divisions of both the Iranian army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) participated in the drill, which kicked off on Tuesday, alongside several vessels from the Russian navy.
Admiral Gholamreza Tahani, spokesman of the drill, said the Indian navy had also requested and joined the exercise with a select group of vessels.
“The exercise we’re conducting with Russia is so flexible that not only one other country, but several others could join in later if they wish to do so,” he said.
Hossein Khanzadi, commander of the Iranian navy, said the Chinese navy will also participate in the drill, which will cover an area of 17,000 square kilometres (6,500 square miles). Iran, Russia and China held similar exercises in 2019.
Khanzadi said the drill shows that naval powers in the region are increasingly coming together to ensure their collective security.
“It means that global arrogance which until today dominated the region must realise that it needs to leave it,” he was quoted as saying by the Iranian army’s website.
Tahani said the all-Iranian frigate Jamaran, unveiled in 2010, led the exercise while Iranian and Russian navy helicopters provided air monitoring and support.
The exercises will include shooting at sea and air targets and liberating hijacked ships, as well as search and rescue and anti-piracy operations. Iran says it hopes to exchange information and technical and tactical experience while becoming better-equipped to “fight sea theft and terrorism”.
Iran’s army and the IRGC have conducted several drills in the past two months, in a show of force amid tensions with the United States.
These exercises saw a variety of locally manufactured long-range missiles, drones, tanks, warships, submarines and helicopters tested on land, sea and air targets.