Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Thandi Modise, says she is confident that the multinational maritime exercise between South Africa, Russia and China that will take place over a 10-day period will benefit all three participating nations.
“The envisaged exercise will benefit all countries involved through interoperability of the naval systems, joint disaster systems management enhancement, maritime cooperation and anti-piracy exercises.”
In addition, she said the event known as Exercise Mosi II, will serve as a platform for the three nations to share operational skills, expertise and experience.
This comes after the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) announced last week that it will host the People’s Liberation Army Navy from China and the Russian Federal Navy during the multilateral maritime exercise scheduled to take place from 17 to 27 February 2023.
The maritime exercise will be held in Durban and Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal.
According to the department, this will be the second time such an exercise will be taking place involving the three naval forces with the first one held in November 2019 in Cape Town.
This year’s Exercise Mosi II will see over 350 SANDF personnel from various Arms of Services and Divisions participating alongside their Russian and Chinese counterparts.
South Africa, according to the department, enjoys diplomatic relations with all member states of BRICS (Brazil, Russia and China) at a bilateral level, in addition to the multilateral levels.
“We also enjoy defence diplomatic relations with several countries across all the continents of the world since we have become an integral part of the community of nations and no longer a pariah State.”
In recent months, the department said it had engagements with counterparts in the United Kingdom, China, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
“There was no hype about any of these countries, especially about the USA wherein we held an even longer exercise, known as Exercise Shared Accord in KwaZulu-Natal last year regarding our military health capabilities,” the department added.
In addition, the department said the SANDF plans and budgets for military exercises with other nations across the globe, both at bilateral and multilateral levels.
Exercise Mosi II, according to the department is no exception, including the Exercise Shared Accord held with the United States armed forces counterparts.
Meanwhile, the biennial maritime Exercise Oxide between South Africa and France also took place in November last year at the Simon’s Town Naval Base.
“We wish to state categorically that South Africa, like any independent and sovereign state, has a right to conduct its foreign relations in line with its diplomatic relations and national interests. South Africa sees Exercise Mosi II as an opportunity to contribute towards further strengthening the strong bonds that exist between South Africa, Russia and China,” the department said.
“Contrary to the assertions by our critics, South Africa is not abandoning its neutral position on the Russian-Ukraine conflict. We remain firm in our view that multilateralism and dialogue are keys to unlocking sustainable international peace. We continue to urge both parties to engage in dialogue as a solution to the current conflict.”
Source: South African Government News Agency