A Chinese naval fleet today left for a visit to India, Pakistan and Thailand during which the vessels will hold the first joint naval exercises in foreign sea areas.
The fleet of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), comprising of a 'Shenzhen' missile destroyer and a 'Weishanhu' depot ship, is expected to hold joint military drills, the first ever by the Chinese navy in alien sea areas, with navies of the three nations.
Sources with the fleet said the drills will focus on items in non-traditional areas, such as joint search- and- rescue exercises, Xinhua news agency reported from Zhangjiang port in southern China's Guangdong province.
Passing four straits, the fleet is expected to enter the Arabian Sea via northern part of the Indian Ocean.
The whole voyage is almost 10,000 sea miles and the sail will last over 40 days.
Destroyer Shenzhen, China's self-developed missile destroyer, has visited 11 nations in four previous trips.
Weishanhu paid its maiden tour to foreign lands, the report said.
Three Indian Naval ships had visited Shanghai port in Oct, 2003 and held joint exercises with the PLAN vessels.