In wake of rise in incidents of piracy off the coast of Lakshadweep, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have deployed at least four warships in the Arabian Sea and pressed into service aircraft for surveillance as part of efforts to check such incidents.
To deter the pirates from attempting any action in the region near Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands, the two sea guarding agencies have decided to maintain sustained presence of four to five of their vessels in the Central Arabian Sea, Navy officials said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The step comes soon after pirates captured Bangladeshi merchant ship MV Jahan Moni on 5th December off the coast of India’s Lakshadweep Islands on its way to Europe with 25 crew members and 41,000 tonnes of nickel ore on board.
Officials said the measures have been taken after it was observed that a piracy “hot spot” was emerging there with rise in such incidents.
The arrangement of stationing of ships including Naval frigates and Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) in the region would continue for a month and will come up for review after that period, they added.
The efforts to thwart piracy attempts in the Arabian Sea are in addition to the Indian warship deployments close to the Gulf of Aden to secure merchant vessels from the attacks of Somalian pirates there.
The ships present in the Arabian Sea would also help in securing the sealanes of communication connecting countries such as Seychelles, Maldives and other islands in the vicinity.
To enhance aerial surveillance in the region, the two forces would also press their Dornier reconnaissance aircraft into service.
The Indian Navy is one of the major international players in attempts to curb piracy off the coast of Somalia and has been deploying frigates and destroyers in turns to prevent such incidents.