Anti Piracy Current Affairs - 2020

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Oman ships arrive to participate in Indo-Oman bilateral Naval Exercise “Naseem Al-Bahr”

On January 6, 2020, two Oman ships arrived in Goa to participate in “Naseem-Al-Bahr”, the Indo-Oman bilateral naval exercise.

Highlights

RNOV are Royal Navy of Oman Vessels. RNOV al Rasikh and RNOV Khassab arrived at Goa. Along with these ships, Indian Naval Ships Shubhadra and Beas will also participate in the exercise. The Indo-Oman Naval Exercises are being conducted since 1993.

Other exercises between the countries

The countries conduct regular biennial exercises between all three services namely army, navy and air force. ”Al Najah” is the army exercise conducted between the countries. “Ex Eastern Bridge” is the Air Force exercise that is held between the countries.

Significance

The naval exercise with Oman is highly important for India. This is because of strategic location of the country. The country is at the gateway of Strait of Hormuz through which India imports one-fifth of its oil imports. The berth rights given by Oman to Indian vessels is important for the Indian Navy to carry out anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

India recently signed a pact with the country in 2018 to access the Duqm port of Oman.

India-Oman

In West-Asia, Oman is one of India’s oldest defence partners and an ally in anti-piracy campaigns. India has supplied rifles to Oman. Also, India is considering to set up a defence production unit in Oman.

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Apharan: Indian Navy’s largest anti-hijacking exercise

On Decebmer 18, 2019, the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard at Cochin port conducted large scale anti-hijacking exercise. The exercise was called Apharan.

Highlights

Multiple agencies participated in the exercise. It included 12 ships and helicopters of Cochin Port trust, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. This is the first time an anti-hijacking exercise is being conducted at a large scale in India and in the port of Cochin.

During the exercise, insertion of Marine Commandos (MarCos) into the hijacked vessel through boarding operations and slithering into the deck from a Sea King helicopter were demonstrated.

Significance

The exercise acted as a platform for the stakeholders to identify gaps and self-assess the preparedness of their respective organizations. It also helped to formulate an integrate crisis management for the port of Kochi or Cochin.

Currently, hijacking of merchant vessels is one of the challenging scenarios of the Indian Navy. Piracy returned in 21st century after Somalian pirates began to hijack commercial ships and demand large ransoms. The Indian Navy began its anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden since 2008. It escorts Indian-flagged ships and also ships from other countries.

It is also important for India to strengthen its anti-piracy skills as terrorists make their way onto the Indian shores via inflatable speed boats. In 2008, 10 terrorists involved in Mumbai terror attack made their way through sea.

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