India said it would send three warships to the Arabian Sea after a drone strike an “Israeli-affiliated” merchant ship off its west coast last week.
The MV Chem Pluto was attacked about 200 nautical miles (370 km) off the coast of the western state of Gujarat.
The attack started a fire but it was quickly put out by the crew. There were no casualties.
The ship’s crew included 21 Indians and one Vietnamese citizen.
The MV Chem Pluto is a Liberian-flagged chemical tanker owned by Japan and operated by the Netherlands. British maritime security company Ambrey said the ship was linked to Israel, but did not specify the link.
According to Indian media, the ship was carrying oil from Saudi Arabia and was heading to the southern Indian port of Mangalore when the attack took place.
After the attack, an Indian Coast Guard vessel accompanied the MV Chem Pluto to Mumbai on Monday.
“In view of the recent spate of attacks in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Navy has deployed guided missile destroyers INS Mormugao, INS Kochi and INS Kolkata in various areas to maintain a deterrent presence,” the statement said. Marine.
The navy added that it also regularly uses a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft to monitor the situation.
India relies heavily on fuel shipments from the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Any disruption of this route can be problematic for India.
“India plays the role of network security provider across the Indian Ocean region,” Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.
He said the Indian Navy had increased its surveillance of the seas. “We will find those responsible for this attack and strict action will be taken against them.”
No group has admitted responsibility for the drone attack. The United States blamed Tehran for the attack, but an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson called the accusation “baseless.”
A series of attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels, opposed to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, have sparked concerns in the global shipping industry.
US Central Command says at least 15 commercial ships have been attacked by Houthi militants in the past two months.
Several shipping companies have already changed course of their ships to avoid the Red Sea.
This raises concerns among South Asian exporters.
“We are worried. Our shipping agents say transportation costs may increase by 10-15 percent and travel time will increase by five to seven days,” said Syed Nazrul Islam, vice-president of the Manufacturers’ Association. and clothing exporters from Bangladesh, to the BBC. .
Bangladesh exports billions of dollars worth of ready-made garments to Europe and the United States.
Although the cost of transportation is usually paid by Western clothing brands, Islam said Bangladeshi exporters fear that buyers will ask for a discount the next time they place an order.
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