New Delhi: The Indian Navy is set to increase the number of warships deployed for anti-piracy and anti-drone activities in the strategic waters of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, alarmed by the recent spate of attacks on merchant vessels in the Arabian Sea, sources said.
At present, the Indian Navy has six warships engaged in the anti-piracy and anti-drone operations. “We will soon increase the number of warships to further maintain maritime domain presence and substantially enhance maritime surveillance,” a navy official said.
On January 5, the navy’s maritime commandos (MARCOs) had rescued the 21 crew members, including 15 Indians, on board a merchant vessel after its attempted hijack in the Arabian Sea off the Somalian coast by six to eight armed pirates. The navy has stepped up its operations and is investigating suspicious vessels in the area to track down the pirates involved in the attempted hijack of the Liberian-flagged MV Lila Norfolk, targeted by pirates on January 4 evening.
The MV Lila Norfolk is on its way to the Khalifa Bin Salman port in Bahrain following the restoration of its power and propulsion with the help of the crew on board the warship INS Chennai.
The suspected pirates had boarded the vessel but abandoned the attempted hijack, probably as soon as they spotted the navy’s drones and aircraft. The navy had deployed a warship, a maritime patrol aircraft P-81, and long-range drones.