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Iran, Russia, China to hold joint drills in north of Indian Ocean

Yusef Jalali
Press TV, Chabahar

Russian and Chinese naval vessels arrived in Iran's southern waters after sailing thousands of kilometers to take part in a joint drill with Iran's naval forces. Codenamed the Maritime Security Belt, the one-day drill will be conducted on Friday over a 17-thousand square kilometer area in north of the Indian Ocean.

Russia's Pacific Fleet has deployed a flotilla comprising its Guided Missile cruiser, Varyag, and its anti-submarine destroyer, the Admiral Tributs. China has also sent its Urumqi destroyer and this as Iran has used its latest domestically built destroyers Dena and Jamaran as well as its guided-missile vessel Tabarzin.

China, Russia and Iran's naval cooperation is an all-win measure that ensures the safety of international shipping. Most of Russia's international trade is carried out through maritime shipment. Iran also relies on shipping for its oil exports. China's imports of oil and gas and some other foreign trade depend on sea transit as well. So, the trilateral drill is seen as an important step towards safeguarding the economic security of the three countries.

It's the third time Iran is holding a joint naval exercise with Russia and China. Officials say the trilateral drill is not aimed at any specific country, and seeks to encourage all actors in the region to join hands for a collective security in regional waters.

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