South Africa hosts massive Naval drills in Indian Ocean

BEIJING: China and Russia on Friday joined a naval exercise hosted by South Africa in the Indian Ocean, with experts saying that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aims to safeguard peace and stability in the region and protect sea lanes for commercial ships amid its intensive efforts to restore exchanges and cooperation with foreign countries, including opening a destroyer at an international expo in Abu Dhabi, after such interactions were hindered by the pandemic in recent years.
Despite the hyping from Western countries saying the exercise is “controversial,” analysts said it is not related to conflicts or tensions elsewhere in the world, and China can conduct joint drills with any friendly countries it wants.
Codenamed Mosi-2, the joint naval exercise began in the Indian Ocean off the coast of South Africa on Friday, said South Africa’s Defense Ministry, Russian news agency Tass reported on the day.
The trilateral exercise will benefit all participating countries by aligning their operational naval systems and improving joint command and control, Tass quoted South Africa’s Minister of Defense and Military Veterans Thandi Modise as saying.
The drills will run until February 27, with China sending a destroyer, a frigate and a support ship, South Africa represented by a frigate and two support ships, and Russia deploying a frigate and a tanker, according to Tass, which also noted that the Russian frigate will demonstrate the Zircon hypersonic missile.
It is the second time the three countries have held a joint naval exercise, with the first one held in November 2019 in the southwest of South Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, reported Tass.
The joint drills will contribute to peace and stability in the region, as the three countries have common interests in protecting sea lanes involving key commercial activities in the Indian Ocean from piracy and other security threats, a Beijing-based military expert told the Global Times on Friday.
Western countries and their media have been hyping the exercise as “controversial,” citing the Russia-Ukraine conflict, South Africa’s refusal to condemn and impose sanctions on Russia, and tensions over the Taiwan question.
–The Daily Mail-Global Times news exchange itrm