Joint naval drills between Russian, Iranian and Chinese forces. Screengrab of video.InternationalIndiaAfricaThe three countries have been holding their annual Maritime Security Belt drills since 2019, and plan to expand them to include more countries in 2024.Russian, Iranian and Chinese naval forces showed off their military prowess and ability to act in concert in large-scale drills held Thursday through Saturday.Footage from the ‘Marine Security Belt’ exercises shows warships from the three countries on joint maneuvers, engaging simulated hostile naval and aerial targets, and mounting a commando raid on a pair of cargo ships taken over by simulated pirates. The latter operation was overseen by Iran’s Sahand destroyer command ship, and saw commandos boarding the hijacked vessels from small boats and by rappelling from helicopters.“Today we have successfully conducted joint tactical and operational exercises in this drill. In addition to joint operations, tactical training and other planned activities, we have had shooting exercises in day and night, PHOTOEX and communication training. We had perfect synergy in conducting the joint drill with Russia and China,” Rear Admiral Mostafa Tajeddini, the exercises’ spokesman, told Iranian media.“Conducting this maritime exercise with other world powers shows that the Islamic Republic of Iran has the ability to synergize aligned power and uses this ability to ensure maritime security,” Mohammad Nozari, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Navy base in Chabahar said of the drills.The exercises wrapped up on Saturday with a parade featuring Iranian Navy and Revolutionary Guard Navy vessels, Russian and Chinese warships before Iran’s Jamaran destroyer.The Russian units involved included the Admiral Gorshkov frigate and Kama support vessel, while China sent its Nanning destroyer.WorldLapid Says Resumption of Saudi-Iranian Relations a ‘Dangerous Failure’ of Israel’s Foreign Policy 10 March, 22:06 GMTRear Admiral Shahram Irani, commander of the Iranian Navy, told reporters Saturday that Tehran expects even more countries to join the drills next year. Irani praised the exercises’ Russian and Chinese participants for the “great tactical coordination” they showed operating with Iranian forces, and said that during the exercises, “not a single” uninvited foreign warship was seen in the region. Iran has dramatically ramped up its security cooperation with Russia, China, and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization alliance in recent years, while simultaneously jealously guarding its independence in foreign affairs and military matters. Last year, the Islamic Republic signed new strategic partnership treaties with both Moscow and Beijing.Tehran has also been stretching its sea legs, enhancing its power projection capabilities globally via a series of innovative asymmetric warship designs – including by creating military vessels from converted cargo and oil tanker ships.