In an expansion of its Mission Based Deployments (MBD) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the Navy deployed its P-8I long-range maritime surveillance aircraft for anti-piracy sorties from Salalah in Oman to patrol the Gulf of Aden.
“Long-range maritime reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft P-8I undertakes anti-piracy patrol sorties from Salalah in the Gulf of Aden and other piracy prone areas in keeping with our MBD philosophy, to keep IOR safe and secure for all,” Navy spokesperson Captain D.K. Sharma said in a tweet on Saturday.
The P-8I provided long-range Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), Captain Sharma added.
Since 2008, India has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the commercially crucial Gulf of Aden.
“This was the second time the P-8I operated from Salalah for anti-piracy this year. It was operated from there first January,” a defence source said on Sunday..
Foreign ships also
Besides escorting Indian flagged vessels, ships of other countries have also been provided protection, a defence source said. “No ship under Indian escort has thus far been hijacked by pirates,” the source added.
Till date the Indian Navy has escorted 3,440 ships, of which 3,027 were of foreign flag and 413 Indian flag.
Navy ships also made 414 interventions at sea.
The Navy has deployed 73 ships till date on anti-piracy patrols.
Under the MBD concept, the Navy now maintains a ship at every choke point in the IOR at any point of time.
As part of expanding engagement maritime engagement, India has stepped up cooperation with Indian Ocean littoral states and maritime neighbours. Under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the Navy undertakes Joint Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance with Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius and Coordinated Patrols (CORPAT) with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.
Search and rescue and capability-enhancement activities have also emerged as major areas.