Chabahar (IP) - Naval forces from Iran, Russia and China have begun conducting joint drills in the Sea of Oman, their fifth common military exercise in recent years.

Iran Press/Iran News: Dubbed “Maritime Security Belt 2024”, the naval exercise got underway on Tuesday with more than 20 ships, support vessels and combat boats from the three allies participating.

The drills will continue until Friday.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy has dispatched ten heavy and light vessels, two helicopters, and 420 armed support personnel to take part in the joint drills.

Russia’s Pacific Fleet, led by the Varyag cruiser, arrived at the Iranian port of Chabahar on Monday ahead of the drills, while China sent the guided-missile destroyer Urumqi and the guided-missile frigate Linyi to the exercise.

Naval forces from Oman, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and South Africa are acting as observers.

The joint exercise comes at a time of heightened tensions in the region over the Israeli regime’s war of aggression in the Gaza Strip, which has threatened to spiral into a wider regional conflict. 219

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