- Forces from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Israel and the United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) began a multilateral maritime security operations exercise in the Red Sea.
- This is the first publicly acknowledged naval exercise between the United States, Israel and the two Gulf countries.
- The UAE and Bahrain in 2020 normalised diplomatic relations with Israel under a US-brokered deal known as the Abraham Accords, brought together by shared worries about Iran and hopes of economic gains.
- The US 5th Fleet/NAVCENT is based in the Gulf island state of Bahrain and operates in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.
- Since February 2021, Iran and Israel have been accused of engaging in what analysts have called a “shadow war”, in which vessels linked to each nation have come under attack in waters around the Gulf in tit-for-tat exchanges.
- Negotiations between Iran and major powers (P5+1) on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal will resume in Vienna on 29th November 2021, with failure carrying the risk of a sharp spike in regional tensions.
- The five-day exercise in the Red Sea is intended to enhance interoperability between participating forces.
- Maritime collaboration helps safeguard freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade, which are essential to regional security and stability.
- The exercises include boarding, search and seizure training on the USS Portland, an amphibious transport dock ship.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT