Russian Federation Defence Ministry has announced the opening ceremony of the first joint naval drills of Russia and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Known as ASEAN – Russia Naval Exercise (ARNEX) 2021, the exercise started on 1 December and runs until 3 December.

The maritime security exercise is being conducted off Sabang, Indonesia.

Ships from Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei and Myanmar, as well as observers from the participating states, are taking part in the exercise.

The large anti-submarine warfare (ASW) destroyer ‘Admiral Panteleyev (548)’ of the Pacific Fleet is representing Russia in the exercise.

The exercise included joint tactical manoeuvring drills by ships, conducting signals training, communication, and manoeuvring drills, as well as interviewing and screening tasks of a suspicious vessel.

It also covered training in search and rescue (SAR) at sea.

Russia is the third country, after China and the US, to conduct naval exercises with the regional body.

Singapore’s RSS Vigour commanding officer lieutenant colonel Gavin Cheong said: “It is important for navies to cooperate with each other to protect our key maritime trade routes and work towards safer seas.

“This exercise allows the navies of ASEAN Member States and Russia to strengthen collaboration, enhance understanding and build confidence in our ability to address common maritime security challenges at sea.”