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China, Russia and Iran are holding joint naval exercises this week near the Gulf of Oman, according to the Chinese defense ministry.

According to a ministry statement Monday, the exercises, dubbed “Security Bond-2024,” will take place from Monday to Friday and aims to “strengthen maritime cooperation” and “jointly safeguard regional maritime security.”

A similar round of drills was held last year in the same area between the three countries.

According to Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, the drills are set to start Tuesday with naval representatives from Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Oman, India and South Africa also set to observe the exercises.

Iranian state media added that the purpose of the drills is to “consolidate security and its foundations in the region and expand multilateral cooperation among the participating countries.”

In a statement published Monday, Beijing announced that China will be sending the “guided missile destroyer Urumqi, guided missile frigate Linyi and comprehensive supply ship Dongpinghu.”

According to Russian news agencies, Moscow’s defense ministry said, “The practical part of the exercise will take place in the waters of the Gulf of Oman in the Arabian Sea.” Moscow also added that the drills would facilitate maritime safety.

Russian state media reported ahead of this week’s drills that ships from Russia’s Pacific Fleet arrived at Iran’s Chah Bahar port Monday, led by the Varyag cruiser.

The maritime drills come as tensions are high in the region due to the war in Gaza and ongoing attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, launched by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Last week, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi said that since October 19 of last year, rebels have launched 403 missiles or drones against 61 ships, causing disruptions to international trade.

The Houthi leader has previously pledged that attacks will further escalate if what he calls “the barbaric and brutal aggression against Gaza does not stop.”

Some U.S. officials have previously expressed concern over growing military ties between the three countries. Last year, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said that China, Russia and Iran would be a problem “for many years to come” for Washington.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.