MANILA— The Philippine Navy said Wednesday it is participating virtually in the first ever maritime exercises between Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which kicked off Wednesday in Indonesia.
“This exercise is about peace, stability and prosperity in the region… We are opening a new page in our strategic partnership,” Russian Ambassador to ASEAN Alexander Ivanov said at the launch of the event at Belawan Bay in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, according to his office’s Twitter account.
Ivanov was physically joined by Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Liudmila Vorobieva, along with the Indonesia Navy’s 1st Fleet Command chief Rear Admiral Arsyad Abdullah, at the formal opening ceremony, the Russian Mission to ASEAN said.
“This exercise will enhance the interoperability and understanding between Russian and ASEAN military, as well as friendship between them,” Arsyad was quoted by the mission to have said at the kickoff event.
The Philippine Navy is participating in the three-day exercise, but only as a virtual observer, Cmdr. Benjo Negranza, its chief public affairs officer, told ABS-CBN News.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The ASEAN-Russia Naval Exercise is the third of such ASEAN+1 maritime drill, after the ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise in 2018, and the ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise in 2019, according to Collin Koh of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore who has research interests on naval affairs in the Indo-Pacific, focusing on Southeast Asia.
The Philippines physically joined the ASEAN-China and ASEAN-US naval drills.
The ASEAN-Russia exercise will include the Harbor Phase, to be held virtually, and the Sea Phase, with the Russian Pacific Fleet destroyer Admiral Panteleyev taking part, Moscow said earlier.
Russia, China and the United States are among 11 dialogue partners of ASEAN.
RELATED VIDEO FROM THE ARCHIVES