New Delhi: While the US has unveiled a multinational naval force to protect merchant vessels in the Red Sea from Iranian-backed Houthi militia, India has stationed two guided-missile destroyers off the coast of Aden as part of maritime security in the north Arabian Sea.
Even though the government remains tight-lipped about the development, the Indian Navy destroyer INS Kochi is involved in mitigating merchants vessels against Somalian pirates on the mouth of Red Sea. India has also sent another guided missile stealth destroyer INS Kolkata to muscle up maritime security off the coast of Aden.
On Monday, US announced Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect sea borne traffic in Red Sea from ballistic missile and drone attacks launched by Shia Houthi groups in Yemen. The coalition includes countries like UK, Bahrain, France, Norway and other countries.
The Iran backed Houthi militia, which is fighting the Government of Yemen, with support from terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula, Islamic State and the Ansar Al-Sharia, has virtually become a state actor with arsenal of helicopters, ballistic missiles and missile firing drones. Based in South Yemen near the Bab el-Mandab Red Sea choke-point, the Houthi militia is targeting commercial vessels as part of a plan to pressure the international community to stop Israel from military operations in Gaza.
While the Houthis are targeting merchant shipping in Red Sea, the Islamist Somalian pirates are adding to the mess by hijacking merchant tankers for huge ransom money. The Malta-flagged tanker MV Ruen is currently captured by Somalian pirates and has been moved to Mogadishu.
With China restricting the freedom of navigation in South China Sea on one end of the Indo-Pacific and Iranian proxies destabilizing the Middle-East region, the sea lanes of communications are under threat with serious repercussions on global trade. Any successful big attack on merchant shipping by the Houthis, there will be serious impact on global oil flows via Red Sea and the price of crude will shoot up, causing further global misery. As much as 10 per cent of global oil imports pass through the Red Sea annually.
Source : HindutanTimes