China, Russia to hold Navy drill in South China Sea

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Beijing, Sep 11 China and Russia will stage an eight-day Navy drill in the South China Sea off China's Guangdong province from September 12, a Chinese official said on Sunday.

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According to spokesperson Liang Yang, the drill, "Joint Sea-2016", will feature Navy surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters, marine corps and amphibious armoured equipment from both navies, Xinhua news agency reported.

Most of the Chinese participants will come from the Nanhai Fleet under the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

Chinese and Russian participants will undertake defence, rescue, and anti-submarine operations, in addition to joint-island seizing missions and other activities, Liang said.

The marine corps, in particular, will carry out live-fire drills, sea crossing and island landing operations, and island defence and offence exercises among others, he said.

Liang said the drill, from September 12-19, is part of an annual programme, which aims to consolidate and advance the Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and deepen friendly and practical cooperation between the two militaries.

It will also improve coordination between the two navies on joint defence operations at sea, he said.

The annual China-Russia joint naval exercise is the fifth of its kind between the two countries since 2012. The drills were held in 2012 in the Yellow Sea; off the coast of Russia's Far East in 2013; and in the East China Sea in 2014.

In 2015, the drill was conducted in two phases: in the Mediterranean, and then in Peter the Great Gulf in the Sea of Japan.

IANS

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