Iran, Russia and China will hold joint naval exercises in the northern Indian Ocean “this autumn,” Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reported, according to Bloomberg.
Other countries including Oman and Pakistan may also join the drills, Mehr cited Iranian Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri as saying, without giving further details.
The northern Indian Ocean extends to the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway for the export of oil to world markets.
The three nations started joint exercises in December 2019, according to Iranian state media, to deal with unspecified “threats in the region.” China’s military spokesman at the time described the exercises as a “normal military exchange.” The most recent round was in January.
They have also expanded diplomatic and economic relations as Iran remains under sweeping US sanctions over its nuclear program, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has severed much of Moscow’s trade with Western nations.