In a triangle of vital straits, the maneuvers of Iran, Russia and China carry political messages and perpetuate strategic interests
Analysts believe that the scope of the Iranian-Russian-Chinese joint maneuvers has been carefully chosen in the “golden triangle” that includes the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf waters, Bab al-Mandeb in the Gulf of Aden, and the Malacca Strait in Southeast Asia. And that these maneuvers will contribute to ensuring navigation and maritime trade for Tehran, Moscow and Beijing.
Al Jazeera Net- Observers in Tehran believe that the joint naval maneuvers between Iran, China and Russia did not amount to a strategic alliance, and did not pave the way for a permanent presence of Russian and Chinese forces in the region, but they aimed to send certain political messages.
Under the slogan “Together for Security and Peace,” the Iranian Navy began Friday morning the basic stage of the “National Security Belt 2022” maneuvers, with the participation of its Chinese and Russian counterparts, over an area of 17,000 km north of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman.
11 naval vessels from the Iranian army and 3 other vessels belonging to the Revolutionary Guards Navy are participating in the maneuvers, along with the Russian fleet, which participated in 3 naval vessels, while China participated in two vessels, according to the maneuvers’ spokesman, Admiral Mustafa Tajeddin.
Taj El-Din said that these maneuvers are the third carried out by these countries since 2019, and will continue in the future, stressing that their goal is to ensure security and stability, enhance cooperation between them, and demonstrate their ability to protect the security of maritime navigation.
The Iranian researcher in security and military affairs, Hossein Delerian, considers the ongoing joint exercises a link in the military rapprochement between Iran, Russia and China over the past years, explaining that the military cooperation between the “Eastern Trinity” is constantly increasing.
Delerian confirmed to Al Jazeera Net that military cooperation forms an essential part of the strategic treaties between Tehran, Beijing and Moscow, and one of the provisions of the Iranian-Chinese treaty provides for the transfer of Chinese military experiences, including the training of Iranian forces.
Perhaps “opposing Western unilateralism in the world” is the password for which this military triad meets annually to take a practical step to confront this unilateralism, according to Delerian, who believes that the countries of the Middle East have borne the scourge of Western policies, as he put it.
Objectives and messages
Pointing out that some eastern powers, such as Russia, were not immune from the repercussions of Western unilateralism in the region, the military researcher said, “The annual maritime security belt maneuvers came to put an end to Western tampering with the region and to ensure maritime navigation in the Indian Ocean.”
The researcher added that the importance of these maneuvers comes from the size and location of the area where the exercises are conducted, as a large portion of energy and other marine exports pass through the Gulf waters and the Strait of Hormuz, passing through the Indian Ocean and the area of the maneuvers in particular.
And whether the maneuvers aim to send specific messages to regional and international parties, Delerian said that the ongoing maneuvers reassure the neighborhood of the Eastern Trinity’s determination to establish security and stability in the international waters close to it, and that the maneuvers are a practical application of Iran’s constant call for the neighborhood to cooperate to ensure maritime navigation in the region.
As for the foreign forces in the territorial waters, the military researcher believes that they are on their way to leave the region sooner or later, and that Iran will take the lead in establishing security in the territorial waters, especially the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf waters, with the participation of the countries of the region.
Is it a regional alliance?
In light of Tehran’s demand for international forces to leave the Gulf waters, military researcher Mahdi Bakhtiari believes that Iran’s hosting of the joint exercises does not mean urging China and Russia to have a permanent presence in the area of the exercises, especially the Gulf waters.
In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, Bakhtiari stressed that Iran sees any permanent foreign presence in the region – whether western or eastern – as an attempt to destabilize its security, and that these maneuvers renew the Iranian assertion of the need to form a regional alliance to ensure maritime navigation in Gulf waters.
He also said, “The Iranian-Chinese-Russian military alliance has not yet risen to the strategic alliance,” and explained that the maneuvers are taking place periodically and planned in advance, and have nothing to do with the recent Iranian alliances with China and Russia, and they are not a wave against any particular party, but they are not devoid of political messages. On the depth of political relations between these countries.
Military researcher Bakhtiari explained that the main task of the ongoing maneuvers is to joint coordination and prepare to confront maritime piracy, rescue ships stranded on the high seas, and ensure maritime navigation, in addition to raising the readiness of naval forces and delivering humanitarian aid.
As for the geography of the maneuvers, Bakhtiari believes that they were chosen very carefully near the Golden Triangle, that is, each of the strategic straits: the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf waters, the Bab al-Mandab Strait in the Gulf of Aden, and the Malacca Strait in Southeast Asia.
He concluded that the periodic maritime belt maneuvers will undoubtedly continue for the coming years, and that they will contribute to ensuring navigation, maritime trade and information cooperation between the three countries.