On June 18, Iranian and Chinese Naval forces began joint drills in the Persian Gulf, IRNA informs.
An Iranian destroyer, a helicopter and two Chinese destroyers, replenishment ship and a helicopter participate in the drills.
On June 15, the Chinese Navy forces arrived at Bandar Abbas, where they were warmly welcomed by their Iranian colleagues. The Chinese living in Bandar Abbas also took part in the welcome ceremony. On the same day Rear-admiral Amir Hossein Azad, Commander of Iran’s First Naval Zone, held a press conference with a Chinese fleet commander and informed that the drills would be conducted in the Strait of Hormuz and in the North of the Indian Ocean. Rear-admiral Amir Hossein Azad also noted that drills would focus on the fight against piracy, defending trade fleets and conducting naval relief and rescue operations. It is also reported that the two navies plan to “exchange useful information”.
According to Rear-admiral Shen Hao, Commander of China Navy Task Force Group, the success of joint exercises will help to strengthen friendly relations between Iran and China. He also said that “cooperation between the two navies has entered a new stage”.
Tensions have been recently rising between the Arab States and Iran. Thus, Qatar’s decision to maintain relations with Teheran led to ruptures in diplomatic relations between Qatar and a number of Arab countries. Iran does not have that many allies in the region, and China’s announcement of military support to Iran came against the backdrop of de facto declaration of isolation of Iran. It is the second time the Chinese navy has visited Bandar Abbas since September 2014.
Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency