India is deploying three guided missile destroyers to the Arabian Sea after a drone last week hit an “Israel-affiliated” merchant vessel off its western coast.
MV Chem Pluto was attacked about 200 nautical miles off the coast of the western state of Gujarat in just the latest example of global shipping routes being targeted by terrorist groups eager to choke world trade.
A spate of attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea by Houthi terrorists, who are opposed to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, have triggered concerns for the global shipping industry.
The latest attack triggered a fire but it was quickly extinguished by the crew. There were no casualties, as Breitbart News reported.
The vessel’s crew included 21 Indians and a Vietnamese citizen.
After the attack, an Indian Coast Guard ship accompanied the MV Chem Pluto safely to port in Mumbai on Monday.
“Considering the recent spate of attacks in the Arabian Sea, Indian Navy has deployed Guided Missile Destroyers, INS Mormugao, INS Kochi and INS Kolkata in various areas to maintain a deterrent presence,” the navy statement said in announcing the deployment.
The navy added it is ready to commence flying a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft to monitor the situation.
India heavily relies on fuel shipments from the Middle East, particularly from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Any disruption in this route can be problematic for India, Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday, the BBC reports.
He said the Indian Navy had increased its surveillance of the seas. “We shall find whoever is responsible for this attack and strict action will be taken against them.”
No group has admitted responsibility for the drone attack. The U.S. blamed Tehran but a spokesperson for Iran’s foreign ministry called the accusation “baseless.”