NEW DELHI: Roped in to insulate Indian maritime assets from the geopolitical power-play involving the US and Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, the Indian Navy’s Operation Sankalp has begun showing results.
Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma said, “Five Indian ships carrying crude were escorted by the Indian Navy while transiting the straits beyond Gulf of Oman till Tuesday evening”. Two more crude carriers were on way and expected to reach by Tuesday night.
The Navy was forced to deploy warships in the Gulf of Oman following political turbulence that engulfed the region after Iran shot down a US drone claiming it had trespassed on its air space.
The US denied it. The Strait connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and to the Arabian Sea beyond.
The Navy had earlier deployed its destroyer INS Chennai and offshore patrol vessel Sunayna on June 20 in the Gulf region for maritime security operations.
In addition, long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P81 is conducting aerial surveillance in the area.
The information fusion centre in the Indian Ocean region is also keeping a close watch on the movement of ships.
Commodore Anil Jai Singh (Retd), a security analyst, said, “Some 60% of our crude is accessed through the Gulf. Merchant Navy personnel are not trained to handle such military situations. Posting the Navy to ensure smooth flow of oil supplies is the right measure since Navy personnel are trained to handle such situations.”
The increasing tension between the US and Iran has raised the fear that crude supplies through the region could be disrupted. Two advisories were issued on June 13 and 16 to all Indian flagged vessels operating in the region to undertake safety measures.