The Indian Navy is scheduled to join the Maritime Security Belt exercise as the third partner along with the Iranian Navy and the Russian Navy. The Iranian-Russian ‘Marine Security Belt’ drills have already begun in the northern portion of the Indian Ocean on 16th February. The move comes after the Chinese Navy declined to participate in the drills.
“This time, which begins today, the Russian Navy joined the exercise site, and the Indian Navy is scheduled to join the combined maritime security exercise,” Mehr News quoted the Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi. The Indian Navy has not commented on the participation yet.
In 2019, the Chinese PLA Navy had joined the Marine Security Belt, but this year the Chinese side declined as the exercise coincided with Chinese New Year. “They announced that their navy will be added to the exercise after the Chinese New Year,” said Radm Khanzadi.
“India is one of the most powerful navies in the region. The presence of the navy in the exercise is very important for India and Iran,” he added.
Spread over 17,000-kilometer area, the Iranian-Russian ‘Marine Security Belt’ drills are being held under the slogan “Collective Cooperation at Sea for the Security of Maritime Trade.”
On February 9, the Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the US military did not view the upcoming exercise of Russian, Chinese and Iranian navies in the Indian Ocean as an impediment to its ability to defend freedom of the seas.