Joint China, Russia navy drill in South China Sea

Beijing, Sep 12 (IANS) A Russian fleet arrived at a port in Zhanjiang in China’s Guangdong Province on Monday for a joint drill with Chinese naval forces.

The “Joint Sea 2016” drill will go ahead between September 12 and 19 in the South China Sea, off Guangdong, Xinhua news agency reported.

Wang Hai, Chinese Chief Director of the exercise and Deputy Commander of the Chinese Navy, said that 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the two sides establishing strategic cooperation.

The two sides have conducted six joint navy drills in five years, and the drill will enhance the abilities of both sides to counter common security threats, said Wang at the welcoming ceremony.

A Chinese Navy official said the drill will feature the highest level of standardisation, combat and digitalisation in recent China-Russia drills.

Participants will undertake joint air defence, anti-submarine operations, landing, island-seizing, search and rescue and weapon use.

The Russian Navy has brought three surface ships, two supply ships, two helicopters, 96 marines, as well as amphibious armoured equipment.

Most of the Chinese forces come from the Nanhai Fleet under the People’s Liberation Army Navy, with some from the Beihai Fleet and Donghai Fleet.

A total of 10 ships from the Chinese Navy, including destroyers, frigates, landing ships, supply ships and submarines, will take part in the drill, as well as 11 fixed-wing aircraft, eight helicopters and 160 marines and amphibious armoured equipment.

The Chinese Navy official said the joint navy drill will feature in-depth coordination between the navies of the two countries.

The drill will make use of a China-Russia joint command information system for the first time, the official said, adding that the system is capable of sending, receiving and sharing information among all command posts and combat units at all levels.

The paperwork and command processes during the drill will be standardised and optimised to make organisational work more effective, Xinhua news agency quoted the spokesperson as saying.

–IANS

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