KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s Navy kicked off a five-day multinational military exercise in the Arabian Sea on Friday as part of Islamabad’s yearslong effort to bring security to the area, it said, although as usual regional archrival India was not invited.

The biannual “Aman” or peace exercise began with a ceremonial hoisting of flags of participating nations in the southern port city of Karachi. Senior military representatives, diplomats and officials from Pakistan’s Navy attended.

Over 40 countries including the United States, Russia, Britain and China, are participating, with some sending vessels, aircraft or special operation forces, it added.

Russia joined the exercise alongside NATO forces for the first time in many years in the area, saying in a statement by the Defense Ministry that its goal was “strengthening and developing military cooperation between the countries participating in the maneuvers in the interests of security and stability.”

Pakistan has been hosting the exercise since 2007 but has never invited neighboring India, and bitter relations remain after three wars fought between the two since independence from British rule in 1947.

The exercise began days after Turkish troops arrived in Pakistan for a separate joint military exercise on land, in addition to sending a contingent to the naval drills.