The US and its partner nations have started the International Maritime Exercise 2019 (IMX 19) with the aim of maintaining regional security and stability.

IMX 19 will involve the participation of forces and equipment from more than 50 partner nations and seven international organisations.

IMX 19 seeks to demonstrate global commitment to ensure the safe passage of shipping assets and the free flow of commerce in the area spanning from the Suez Canal to the Bab-al-Mandeb, as well as through the Strait of Hormuz to the Northern Arabian Gulf.

This year’s exercise will be held over four phases of staff training, fleet training exercise (FTX), table-top and classroom exercises, and force redeployment.

IMX 19 is the sixth iteration of the exercise, which was first conducted in 2012.

US Naval Forces Central Command commander vice-admiral Jim Malloy said: “This year’s iteration is the largest yet, expanding in size and geography; including all essential elements of maritime security operations.

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“We’ve grown participation by about twenty nations, are covering an unprecedented amount of ground in the region, and our multinational team is taking part in more training scenarios than ever before.”

Malloy stated that IMX 19 serves to boost relationships with countries in the Central Command area of responsibility (AOR) and beyond.

He added: “IMX is an important demonstration of global commitment to freedom of navigation and the free flow of maritime commerce in this region.

“I’m proud that we have participation from nations all over the world, especially in leadership positions of multiple task forces. Stability and security in the maritime domain is a shared goal of all nations.”