TEHRAN – Joint maritime maneuvers, involving the Russian, Chinese and Iranian Navies, have entered their second day in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman.

The naval drills, the first of their kind, were launched on Friday with the aim of securing international trade routes in strategic waterways and boosting preparedness among participants against piracy and marine terrorism.

The three countries have sent some of their most advanced vessels to take part in the four-day exercises.

Iran‘s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said the drills are designed to heighten security in the region’s crucially important waterways.

Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani, Iranian flotilla chief, said the maneuvers cover 17,000 square kilometers and consist of “various tactical exercises,” including target practice and rescuing ships from assaults and fires.

“Among the objectives of this exercise are improving the security of international maritime trade, countering maritime piracy and terrorism, exchanging information regarding rescue operations and operational and tactical experience,” he said.

Tahani also stressed that the joint drills serve as a signal to the world that ties between Tehran, Moscow and Beijing have reached a “meaningful” level.

Iran‘s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the naval drills with China and Russia “make clear our broader commitment to secure vital waterways.

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