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Indian Navy units being deployed in Djibouti, Gulf of Aden, East Coast of Somalia: Govt

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New Delhi:  Indian Navy units are being deployed in strategic waters in Djibouti, Gulf of Aden, East Coast of Somalia as well as in the North and Central Arabian Sea for protection of merchant vessels in view of the regional maritime security situation, the defence ministry said on Friday.

Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said in Lok Sabha the Navy deployed its units in the Gulf of Aden and East coast of Africa towards anti-piracy patrols since 2008 and a total of 3,440 ships and over 25,000 seafarers have been “safely escorted”.

There have been growing global concerns over Iran-backed Houthi militants attacking various merchant ships in the Red Sea since November, apparently in response to Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Responding to a question, Bhatt said the Navy is also sharing information with friendly foreign countries to identify the sources and players involved in the attacks.

In the last few weeks, the Indian Navy extended assistance to a number of merchant vessels in the Arabian Sea following attacks on them.

Bhatt said the Navy has been proactively engaging with “regional and extra-regional” navies and maritime forces to promote security in the Indian Ocean region.

He said since 2008, Indian Navy deployed its units in the Gulf of Aden and East coast of Africa towards anti-piracy patrols.

“Indian Navy units are regularly deployed on mission based deployments in our areas of interest in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to enhance maritime security,” Bhatt said.

“Further, Indian Navy units undertake surveillance to enhance maritime domain awareness and address contingencies that may arise,” he said.

“Since 2008, the Indian Navy has deployed units in the Gulf of Aden and East coast of Africa towards anti piracy patrols. A total of 3440 ships and over 25,000 seafarers have been safely escorted,” he said.

Bhatt said the Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) has linkages with 25 partner nations and over 40 international multinational organisations for real time exchange of information towards enhancing maritime security.

He said in view of the ongoing maritime security situation in the region, Indian Navy units are being deployed off Djibouti, Gulf of Aden, in the North and Central Arabian Sea, off East Coast of Somalia for protection of merchant vessels and rendering assistance, if required.

“In addition, information exchange/intelligence sharing is also being undertaken with friendly foreign countries to identify the source/reason/players involved in the attacks/incidents,” he said in a written reply.

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