The first ever naval exercises of Russia and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) started in Indonesia.

This was announced by the permanent mission of the Russian Federation at the association in its Twitter account.

"The ASEAN-Russia naval exercise has begun in the port of Belavan, North Sumatra, Indonesia," the statement said.

ASEAN-Russia Naval Exercice launched in Belawan Bay, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia # ARNEXpic.twitter.com / 3rvX1ICqyG

- Russian Mission to ASEAN (@ASEANRussia) December 1, 2021

As the permanent representative of the Russian Federation to ASEAN Alexander Ivanov noted, the maneuvers are aimed at maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

“We are opening a new page in our strategic partnership,” he said.

Russian ambassador to #ASEAN Alexander Ivanov: "This exercise is about peace, stability and prosperity in the region..we are opening a new page in our strategic partnership" # ARNEX @ ASEAN @ ASEAN_IPR @ Kemhan_RIpic.twitter.com / 2mNCFXbJ0O

- Russian Mission to ASEAN (@ASEANRussia) December 1, 2021

The Commander of the 1st Fleet of the Indonesian Navy, Rear Admiral Arsiyad Abdullah, noted in his speech that the exercises would enhance interoperability and mutual understanding between Russian and ASEAN servicemen, as well as "strengthen friendship between them."

Indonesia First Fleet Commander Rear Adm.

Arsyad Abdullah- "This exercise will enhance the interoperability and understanding between Russian and #ASEAN military, as well as friendship between them" # ARNEXpic.twitter.com / ulVw0yaOSO

- Russian Mission to ASEAN (@ASEANRussia) December 1, 2021

As the Russian Embassy in Brunei Darussalam clarified, from the Russian side the large anti-submarine ship "Admiral Panteleev" of the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy will take part in the exercises.

"The exercises are aimed at working out the interaction of the Russian Navy and the Navy of the ASEAN member countries to ensure the safety of maritime commercial activities and navigation and will be divided into two phases - virtual and maritime," the message says.

How the decision was made

Recall that the decision to hold the first-ever Russian-ASEAN naval maneuvers was approved following the results of the IV Russia-ASEAN summit held on October 28 with the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As the Russian leader stated, strengthening ties with the association and its member states has always been and remains one of the priorities of the Russian foreign policy.

“This year we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of official relations between our country and ASEAN.

These relations, as recorded in the joint statement adopted at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Singapore in 2018, are truly strategic in nature, ”Putin said.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin

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He also stressed that the positions of the Russian Federation and the ASEAN countries on key global and regional problems are in many respects similar.

“The main thing is that we all support the development of equal and mutually beneficial cooperation in the vast Asia-Pacific space.

And now there are real opportunities to intensify cooperation between Russia and ASEAN, including on issues of strengthening stability and security, post-epidemic economic recovery, stimulating trade, expanding humanitarian contacts, ”the Russian President said.

"The active role of the Russian Federation"

As the editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine Igor Korotchenko noted in a commentary to RT, the first-ever naval exercises of Russia and ASEAN are vivid evidence that Russia has the status of a reliable partner in the Asia-Pacific region (APR).

“These maneuvers are an extremely important event associated with strengthening Russia's ties with the ACEAN member states in the naval sphere.

These exercises are aimed at coordinating the naval forces of the participants to ensure stability and security in the region, ”the analyst said.

According to Korotchenko, the ASEAN countries are interested in military cooperation with Russia, since its fleet, in particular the Pacific, is well armed and is also being modernized.

“The capabilities of the Russian Navy are improving: in particular, new warships and submarines are being supplied, equipped with the latest strike weapons systems.

As for the ship of the Pacific Fleet "Admiral Panteleev", it is considered a serious force, which in joint maneuvers will be aimed at ensuring the security of the region, where there is an arms race, pirates are operating, and naval activity is increasing, "the expert explained.

According to Andrey Koshkin, a full member of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, the ASEAN member states are interested in Russia as a country capable of bringing security and stability to the region.

“There is an understanding in Southeast Asia that Russia's participation in maneuvers greatly increases their effectiveness.

After all, ensuring the fulfillment of coordination tasks in rather difficult conditions, when crews of warships from different states work together, is a very difficult process.

And the participation of the Russian ship "Admiral Panteleev" in these maneuvers is no coincidence.

He can engage in reconnaissance, counter air attack weapons, and also strike with his arsenal, "the analyst said in an interview with RT.

Koshkin also considers the conduct of the maneuvers extremely timely in conditions when the West has decided that it is the leading force in the world and can continue to destabilize it with impunity in various regions, including the Asia-Pacific.

“But the world order is now multipolar.

The teachings of Russia and ASEAN are another confirmation of this.

There is more than one center of power, there are several of them, including the Russian Federation.

However, the United States and its allies want to live up to the old model, when American hegemony came to the fore.

Washington began to reformat the possible structures of deterrence for Beijing and Moscow, shifting its focus to the Asia-Pacific region and creating the military-technological regional blocks QUAD and AUKUS, ”the expert noted.

  • ASEAN and Russia flags

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As a reminder, on September 15, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom entered into the AUKUS defense alliance. As part of this partnership, Washington has pledged to transfer technology to Canberra to build its own nuclear submarines. Moscow believes that AUKUS can create "potential risks of destabilizing the situation in the field of international and regional security."

As for QUAD, which includes the United States, India, Australia and Japan, the dialogue of these countries in this format took place in March. Then the Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Jake Sullivan stressed that the "four", from the point of view of Washington, is "not a military alliance and not a new NATO." As explained by the head of the White House Joe Biden, QUAD will be "one of the key platforms for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region." At the end of the summit, the parties issued a joint statement, which spoke of the need to respond to the challenges "faced by the rules-based maritime order in the East China and South China Seas."

“The formation of these blocs makes it even more necessary to protect the sovereign interests of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.

The maneuvers of Russia and ASEAN perform this function as well.

In addition, the exercises demonstrate the active role of the Russian Federation in protecting the APR, as well as the ability of the Russian side and the ASEAN countries to resist possible provocations in the region, "Koshkin said.

Deepening cooperation

According to experts, the first-ever naval exercises of Russia and ASEAN also show that Moscow is ready to expand its military-political partnership with the countries of the association.

Recall that in June, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the IX Moscow Conference on International Security said that the Russian Federation has qualitatively strengthened its interaction with strategic partners, including from ASEAN - in particular, with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

“The topics of dialogue with Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei have been significantly expanded.

We intend to continue and build up our joint work, ”said the head of the RF Ministry of Defense.

Earlier, in March, the then Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia Andrei Kartapolov reported on positive trends in the development of mutually beneficial contacts between the military departments of Russia and Indonesia.

“During the conversation, the parties discussed the prospects for the development of military and military-technical cooperation and expressed a mutual disposition to further strengthen bilateral contacts in the defense sphere,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

As Andrey Koshkin predicted, after the first-ever naval exercises of Russia and ASEAN, the association countries may conclude contracts with Moscow for the purchase of Russian warships that would protect the sovereign interests of the association states.

“Moreover, cooperation is likely to be deepened in other areas of military-technical development,” the expert concluded.

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