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A handout photo made available by the Iranian Army office on December 27, 2019 shows seamen from aboard a Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force vessel moored at Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman during Iran-Russia-China joint naval drills. (Photo via AFP)

Iran, Russia and China began a four-day joint naval exercise in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman on Friday in a bid to boost the security of the region’s waterways.

It was launched from Iran’s southeastern port city of Chabahar in the Gulf of Oman and near the border with Pakistan.

The exercise comes at a time of enhanced US military presence in the region, indicating growing cooperation between the trio. The exercise will cover 17,000 square kilometers and consist of "various tactical exercises," such as target practice and rescuing ships from assaults and fires.

Other major objectives include improving the security of international maritime trade, countering maritime piracy and terrorism, and operational and tactical experience

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