Russia, China and Iran are to hold joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean in mid-February.
This was announced by Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Jagaryan.
“The next multilateral naval exercise will be held in the northern part of the Indian Ocean in mid-February 2021. During them, it is planned, among other things, to work out interaction in search and rescue operations and measures to ensure the safety of navigation,” the ambassador said in an interview with RIA.
Previously, the naval exercises of Russia, Iran and China called the “Maritime Security Belt” were held at the end of December 2019, following which the Iranian military expressed confidence that the maneuvers would continue.
The first drill constituted the following warships:
- Alborz (frigate)
- Sahand (frigate)
- Bayandor (corvette)
- Tondar (hovercraft)
- Shahid Naserinejad (auxiliary ship)
- Shahid Nazeri (HARTH)
- Xining (destroyer)
- Yaroslav Mudry (frigate)
- Elnya (tanker)
- Viktor Konetsky (tugboat)
The second organization of the exercises, as the head of the Iranian Defense Ministry previously reported to RIA Novosti, is tied to the situation with the coronavirus pandemic.
This announcement comes just after USS Nimitz carrier strike group was pulled out of the Persian Gulf and repositioned in the Indo-Pacific, to pressure China.
As such, it would actually be closer to where the exercises will take place.
The announcement also comes just as the US, Japan, and Australia are conducting joint drills out of Guam specifically aimed at countering a theoretical future attack from big powers like China or Russia. These drills, dubbed Cope North 2021, are expected to run until Feb. 19.
“China and Russia can increasingly hold overseas US bases at risk. To adapt, the air force must evolve from its dependence on well-established airfields or risk building an operational edge,” Brigadier General Jeremy Sloane, commander of the 36th Wing at Andersen, told a virtual event hosted by the Air Force Association.
“While the service can overcome some disadvantage with long-range bombers, a war in which missiles knock out American air bases and prevent the ability to launch and recover short-range fighter jets is unlikely to end well.”
Just as the drills were announced, US Central Command commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie gave his first public address since Joe Biden became US President.
General McKenzie's comments most public since Biden came to office signal continuity for US in Mideast except in Yemen.
Head of Centcom was crystal clear "American national interest begins and ends there [with counterterrorism]…We are not a party to the Yemen civil war.”
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) February 8, 2021
Gen. McKenzie said:
“For more than forty years, the Iranian regime has funded and aggressively supported terrorism and terrorist organizations, and defied international norms by conducting malign activities which destabilized not only the region but global security and commerce as well.”
“Our presence in the region, mostly defensive in nature, has brought us to a period of contested deterrence with Iran,” he added. “This presence sends a clear and unambiguous signal about our capabilities and will to defend partners and international interests, a signal that has been clearly received by the Iranian regime.”
As such, the standoff with Iran, Russia and China are not going anywhere. Not only that, but they’re about to ramp up.
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