Russia ready to create naval bases in India, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran

Within the framework of the new Naval Doctrine, Moscow announced its intention to create new naval bases:

  • in the Mediterranean Sea,
  • in Asia-Pacific region (APR),
  • in the Indian Ocean,
  • in the Persian Gulf.

Maritime areas of vital interest

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the corresponding decree on the Navy Day on July 31.

The doctrine states that the US course for dominance in the oceans is the main challenge to the national security of the Russian Federation. The doctrine defines the zones of "vital interests" where military methods can be used when diplomatic methods can no longer be helpful. These zones "are directly related to the development of the state, the protection of its sovereignty, territorial integrity and the strengthening of defense, and critically affect the socio-economic development of the country."

These include internal sea waters and the territorial sea of ​​the Russian Federation, the exclusive economic zone of the country and its continental shelf:

  • The Arctic Basin, including the water area of ​​the Northern Sea Route (NSR),
  • the Sea of ​​Okhotsk,
  • Russian sector of the Caspian.

Based on the Arctic priorities, the doctrine provides for the expansion of Russia's activities

  • on Svalbard,
  • Franz Josef Land
  • Novaya Zemlya
  • and Wrangel Island.

Russia's new naval doctrine names countries of priority naval cooperation

The doctrine notes the lack of a sufficient number of naval bases outside the Russian Federation, which is a risk to Russia's security, and proposes the creation of logistic support points for the Russian Navy

  • in Asia Pacific
  • in "a number of countries in the Mediterranean region",
  • in the Red Sea
  • and the Indian Ocean.

Russia also plans to expand cooperation with Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia and develop naval cooperation with India. All of the above-mentioned countries refrain from accusing the Russian Federation in connection with the special operation in Ukraine.

India is Russia's main partner

India is the most relevant and useful country for maritime and military cooperation due to its membership in the BRICS, SCO and interests in the Arctic.

After February 24, India became Russia's main geopolitical partner. The two countries have been moving closer both politically and economically. According to Indian statistics, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to 6.4 billion US dollars from January to April 2022. This is almost twice as much as in the same period last year. India buys sanctioned Russian hydrocarbons and businesses left by Western companies.

In late 2021, at the summit in New Delhi, military agreements were signed, including on the supply of S-400 systems. In addition, Russia and India hold joint military exercises.

The key Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS) has long been developed and is to be signed soon. In accordance with this document, Russia and India may use military logistics facilities while visiting each other's ports, bases and military facilities.

India openly called for support for the Russian vision of the development of the material production system and is interested in the development of the Arctic.

India's interests in the Arctic region have been growing lately, partly to counterbalance China's ambition. In the near future, New Delhi intends to invest, in particular, in the exploration of Russian oil, gas and other rare earth minerals. The support of the Russian Federation in the field of strategic security is required for their protection.

Currently, India has neither port facilities nor naval bases in the Arctic. An agreement such as RELOS will enable the Indian Navy to have greater operational coverage in this region, and Russia will be able to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean — a zone of direct US interests.

Saudi Arabia moves away from USA

Saudi Arabia has been moving further and further away from the influence of the United States. On July 29, Saudi Arabia was given a partner status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). According to unconfirmed reports, Saudi Arabia wants to join the BRICS as well.

SCO members — China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — prepare to abandon the US dollar as a means of payment.

In September 2021, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement in Moscow on the development of military cooperation. Details were not disclosed. Saudi Arabia has access to both the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

Iran will not let Russia lose to the West

During the September Samarkand SCO summit, Iran will become a full-fledged ninth member of the association. Tehran has also applied to the BRICS as well. Vladimir Putin's visit to Tehran last month showed that Russia's relations with the Islamic republic were reaching a new strategic level.

Tehran can not let Russia to lose the proxy war in Ukraine with the West. Iran will continue developing military and technical cooperation with the Russian Federation. It is not ruled out that Tehran will also provide its ports in the Persian Gulf for logistic support points.

Iraq thankful to Russia for condemning 2003 US intervention

Iraq is going through another political crisis now, but its attitude towards the Russian Federation in all parties and in society ranges from neutral to pro-Russian.

In 2017, Iraq ordered $1 billion worth of Russian tanks, adding to its vast stockpile of Russian-made armored vehicles. In May 2019, Iraq announced a decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems.

Iraq has access to the Persian Gulf. Although the coastline is very short, the Gulf is connected by the Strait of Hormuz with:

  • the Gulf of Oman,
  • the Arabian Sea,
  • the Indian Ocean.

Lavrov sounds out opportunities about naval bases in the Red Sea

It is worthy of note that Russia negotiates a naval base in Sudan as well. The authorities of this country have not decided to ratify the agreement yet. Moscow would like to receive permission from Sudan to keep up to four warships in the Red Sea. In return, Russia would provide Sudan with military equipment and other government assistance.

In his last African tour, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited the countries that access the Red Sea — Egypt and Ethiopia. Eritrea, which always votes against anti-Russian resolutions at the UN General Assembly, is also located there.

Vice Admiral Pyotr Svyatashov, Chief of Staff of the Black Sea Fleet, First Deputy Commander of the Navy in 1992-1997, told Pravda.Ru that the Soviet Union had a naval defense doctrine, while Russia had no such document at all.

"The doctrine that the president signed declares Russia's intentions. We must resolve this issue through diplomatic channels with other countries, except Syria. This document is an impetus for the development of relations and determination of our naval bases in other countries against the background of the international situation," the expert told Pravda.Ru.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
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Editor Dmitry Sudakov
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