Why Russia and China’s combat drills in South China Sea matter

(From The National Interest)

There’s a growing intimacy between two of Asia’s big naval powers and it’s causing disquiet among regional watchers and maritime policymakers. Russia and China are growing closer in the nautical realm, much to the chagrin of Indian, American and Southeast Asian analysts who feel that their growing bilateral synergy could impact the balance of power in Asia.

China-Russia drills in SCS

The trigger for the latest bout of anxiety is ‘Joint Sea-2016’— a joint Sino-Russian naval exercise featuring surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters and amphibious vessels navies.

China has announced that its biggest naval drill with Russia will include the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLA-N’s) Nanhai fleet, and will involve, among other exercises, anti-submarine and amphibious missions.

This is the first time Russian and Chinese naval contingents are meeting for combat drills in the South China Sea (though reportedly not in a contested part of the region), however there’s been visible evidence of a growing synergy in other parts of maritime Eurasia. Read More


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