Drone Attacks On The Rise In Arabian Sea, Indian Navy’s Response

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Drone Attacks On The Rise In Arabian Sea, Indian Navy's Response

Indian Navy has stepped up surveillance to stop attacks on merchant ships

New Delhi:

The Indian Navy has stepped up surveillance in the north and central Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden following frequent security incidents on merchant vessels sailing through international shipping lanes.

Naval task groups comprising destroyers and frigates have been deployed to undertake maritime security operations and help merchant vessels in case of any incident, the navy said in a statement today.

The navy said it is also working closely with the Coast Guard to check new security risks in the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Navy’s move comes days after a merchant vessel, MV Chem Pluto, was struck by a drone 400 km off the Indian coastline. The ship with 21 crew members – 20 Indians and a Vietnamese – arrived at the Mumbai port under the protection of Coast Guard ship Vikram on December 26, two days after it was struck in the Arabian Sea.

“The last few weeks have seen increased maritime security incidents on merchant vessels transiting through international shipping lanes in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and central/north Arabian Sea,” the navy said in the statement.

“The piracy incident on MV Ruen, approximately 700 nautical miles from the Indian coast, and the recent drone attack on MV Chem Pluto, approximately 220 nautical miles southwest of Porbandar, indicates a shift in maritime incidents closer to Indian EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” the navy said.

Apart from destroyers and frigates, the navy has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and maritime patrol aircraft.

Long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8Is are being regularly tasked to maintain domain awareness.

The attack on MV Chem Pluto amid a flurry of new drone and missile attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels on the vital Red Sea shipping lane since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7, with the group claiming to act in solidarity with Gaza.

The Pentagon claimed the tanker ship was targeted by a drone “fired from Iran.” It was the first time the Pentagon openly accused Iran of directly targeting ships since the start of Israel’s war on Hamas, which is backed by Tehran.

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