The Royal Saudi Naval Forces are participating in the International Maritime Exercise 2019 (IMX 19), began on Sunday (3rd November) at Manama, Bahrain according to ArabNews.
Hosted by the US Naval Forces Central Command, the exercise will be conducted at the area from the Gulf of Aqaba to the northern Arabian Gulf. The Saudi military attache in Bahrain, Brig. Gen. Fahad Al-Thunayan, said the exercise aims to enhance cooperation and strengthen relations between participating countries.
Commodore Abdullah bin Fuhaid Al-Shammari, assistant commander of IMX 19 and commander of the Wajib Saudi naval force, said: “The Saudi navy’s participation in this international exercise reflects the devotion of the Royal Saudi Navy command to strengthening international relations and sustaining joint work with the rest of the world, including 56 countries and seven international organizations.”
He added that the exercise is being implemented under the supervision of the US Army War College in two phases, the first of which is theoretical and academic training. “Hypotheses that hinder navigation and free flow of world trade are developed and then analyzed to find alternative solutions,” he said.
The second phase, he added, includes sailing all combatant vessels participating in the exercise and conducting maneuvers related to various maritime security operations in order to deter and neutralize any threat to international maritime transport lines.
On Monday (4th November), the U.S. CENTCOM commented on Twitter that “IMX19 serves to demonstrate the global resolve in maintaining regional security and stability, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce from the Suez Canal south to the Bab El-Mandeb Strait through the Strait of Hormuz to the Northern Arabian Gulf”. They also emphasized that naval exercises with Saudi Arabia aim to maintain freedom of navigation in the region’s waters.