How is India responding to Houthi missile and drone attacks in Red Sea?

Sushim Mukul
Sushim MukulDec 26, 2023 | 17:32

How is India responding to Houthi missile and drone attacks in Red Sea?

The Indian Navy is investigating the nature of the attack on MV Chem Puto. Photo: Getty

After the Houthi rebels of Yemen declared war on Israel in November 2023, the Red Sea, a prominent narrow Sea Lane of Communication, has witnessed a series of missile and drone attacks on vessels travelling to and from Israel.

Recently, these attacks extended to vessels bound for India, leading the Indian Navy to take action to safeguard India's interests.


What happened?

  • On December 24, the US military reported an attack on the Indian-flagged crude oil tanker M/V Saibaba, managed by an Indian company. Fortunately, no injuries were reported despite the drone attack.
  • On December 23, another vessel, MV Chem Pluto, faced an attack off the Porbandar coast.
  • The US Central Command revealed that the Liberia-flagged chemical tanker was hit by an Iran-launched one-way attack drone in the Northern Indian Ocean.
  • Iran-backed Houthis also targeted two ships, including the Norwegian-flagged chemical tanker M/V Blaamanen, concerning India.

These incidents underscore an escalation in attacks on international shipping lanes, leading global shipping groups to suspend operations in the Red Sea.

Indian Navy's response

  • Responding to the mounting threats, the Indian Navy swiftly deployed four stealth-guided destroyers to the Arabian Sea, according to the Press Trust of India.
  • Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on December 26, stated, "We will find those who executed recent attacks on merchant navy ships even from the depths of the seas and take strict action."
  • The Ministry of Defence, on December 25, announced that the destroyers were positioned strategically to maintain a deterrent presence, considering the recent surge in attacks.
  • Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar also mentioned deploying long-range maritime Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft for enhanced 'domain awareness', along with Dornier aircraft, Sea Guardians, helicopters, and Coast Guard ships.

These efforts form a crucial part of India's strategy to safeguard its maritime, commercial, and economic security in the Indian Ocean region, considered its strategic backyard, amidst growing challenges.

Last updated: December 26, 2023 | 17:32
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