India’s Operation Sankalp

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India’s has provided an update on the Indian Navy’s maritime security operations – Operation Sankalp in the north-west Indian Ocean. This was in response deteriorating maritime security situation since mid-December following the outbreak of the to the Israel– Hamas conflict.

The IN undertook proactive actions during the hijacking of Malta flagged bulk carrier MV Ruen on 14 December. Today, 23 March marked 100 days of the ongoing maritime security operations under the aegis of Operation Sankalp. During that time, the IN has responded to 18 incidents and has played the key role as the first responder. The significance of IN’s contributions has been further underscored with the culmination of actions against the hijacking of MV Ruen.

The IN has stated “Since the last 100 days, the naval ships, aircraft and Special Forces have demonstrated an unflinching resolve to ‘secure the seas’ and protect the maritime community from various non-traditional threats present in the region. Based on the threat assessment in the region, the Indian Navy is conducting maritime security operations in three areas of operations viz Gulf of Aden and adjoining areas, Arabian Sea and off the East Coast of Somalia. The arduous efforts of IN since December 2023 involved deployment of over 5000 personnel at sea, over 450 ship days (with over 21 ships deployed) and 900 hours of flying by the maritime surveillance aircraft to address threats in the maritime domain.

With the emergence of piracy in 2008, the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has witnessed steady increase in the presence of warships from regional and extra regional navies, operating independently or under the ambit of various multi-national constructs. In the present security scenario, the IN has taken the ‘lead’ in responding to security situations arising out of a myriad of threats in the region. With over 110 lives saved (including 45 Indian seafarers), 15 lakh tons of critical commodities escorted (such as fertilisers, crude oil and finished products), nearly 1000 boarding operations undertaken, more than 3000 kgs of narcotics seized and over 450 MVs assured of IN’s presence, the ongoing maritime security operations have truly reflected Indian Navy’s capability in playing a vital role as a strong and a responsible Navy in the IOR.”

During Operation Sankalp, the IN’s Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region at Gurugram, has played a transformative role as a principal hub for enabling information exchange in IOR. In addition, coordinated missions with the Indian Air Force and national agencies during this period has also highlighted the synergy and interoperability of the Services.

The IN went on to state that “The calibrated response, ingenuity and unflinching resolve displayed by the Indian Navy during the progress of ongoing maritime security operations under the aegis of ‘Op Sankalp’ has garnered international acclaim by virtue of the effects generated in safeguarding India’s maritime interests, countering maritime threats, thwarting the resurgence of piracy and significantly denting narcotics trade in the IOR. The response of IN to various security situations has once again proved that ‘Safety of Life at Sea’ remains an overarching principle irrespective of the nationality of seafarers.”

 

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