The Chinese and Pakistani navies are holding weeklong drills in the Arabian Sea days after the Russian Pacific Fleet and Myanmar practised repelling attacks in their first maritime exercise, while India and the United States pledged security cooperation.
At a naval base in Karachi on Saturday, the Chinese and Pakistani navies kicked off the exercise in the waters and airspace of the northern Arabian Sea in drills that include anti-submarine operations. The exercise will end on Nov 17.
During the exercise, China and Pakistan will conduct joint maritime patrols for the first time, the People’s Liberation Army Daily reported on Monday.
The exercise follows what Moscow describes as “the first Russian-Myanmar naval exercise in modern history” held from Nov 7-9 in the Andaman Sea on the northeastern fringe of the Indian Ocean, a milestone for Russia’s naval presence in a sea that the United States counts as one of its global security interests.
Admiral Tributs and Admiral Panteleyev, two large Russian anti-submarine ships, conducted exercises with a frigate and a corvette of Myanmar’s navy, according to Interfax news agency last week.
Amid the push for deeper security ties between China and Pakistan, and Russia and Myanmar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held defence talks in New Delhi on Nov 10 with their Indian counterparts.
In a joint statement released after the so-called “2+2 Dialogue”, the US and Indian governments expressed deep concern over the war in Ukraine but made no explicit mention of Russia. They also pledged their commitment to safeguarding a free and open Indo-Pacific.
New Delhi has carefully preserved its longstanding relations with Russia, including cooperation in defence, even as its ties with Washington have grown steadily stronger.
China was also not mentioned in the joint statement, even though an Indian government official said ahead of the talks that China would be one of the “key focus points”.
The careful navigation of those talks comes ahead of a highly anticipated meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco this week, where Washington is expected to seek a re-establishment of military-to-military ties with Beijing.