Amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf after the shooting down of a US drone, the Indian Navy has deployed its warships in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to reassure Indian vessels operating and transiting in the region.
In a statement, the Navy said that it has also begun aerial surveillance in the area. “INS Chennai and INS Sunayna have been deployed in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to undertake maritime security operations,” it said. While the INS Chennai is a destroyer, the INS Sunayna is an offshore patrol vessel.
“The Indian Navy launches Operation Sankalp in the Persian Gulf/Gulf of Oman to re-assure Indian flagged vessels transiting through the area following the recent maritime incidents in the region,” the Navy said. The Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region, which was inaugurated by the Navy in December 2018 at Gurgaon, was also monitoring the movement of ships in the Gulf region, it said.
The move was announced after US President Donald Trump declared Thursday that “Iran made a very big mistake” by shooting down a US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz and gathered top national security officials at the White House to discuss options.
On Friday, some of the world’s leading airlines including British Airways, Qantas and Singapore Airlines suspended flights over the Strait of Hormuz.
India’s strategic and security interests are closely linked to the Indian Ocean Region, particularly. The country’s energy security is also linked to the safety and security of ships while operating and transiting in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
Before Washington claimed that Iran shot down a US drone on Thursday, the US military had accused Iran of firing a missile at another drone last week that was responding to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The US blamed Iran for the attacks on the oil tankers, a charge denied by Tehran.
The Director General, Shipping issued two advisories on June 13 and June 16 to all Indian-flagged vessels operating in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian, Arabian Gulf Region, advising the ships to undertake appropriate protection measures.
“The Indian Navy remains committed to ensuring the safety of Indian maritime trade and merchant vessels operating in the region and contributing towards maintaining a stable and peaceful Indian Ocean Region,” said the Navy.