Arabian Sea Current Affairs - 2020

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Indian Navy launches Operation Sankalp in Persian Gulf

Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Sankalp’ in Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman to reassure safe passage of Indian flagged vessels transiting through area. This deployment is in the wake of following recent maritime incidents in region.

Key Highlights

Indian Naval Ships, INS Chennai (Kolkata-class stealth guided missile destroyers) and INS Sunayna (Saryu-class patrol vessel) have been deployed in region to undertake maritime security operations. In addition to this aerial surveillance is also being done in area by IN aircraft.

The Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) of Indian Navy is also keeping a close watch on movement of ships in Gulf region. IFC-IOR, launched in December 2018, engages with partner nations to develop comprehensive maritime domain awareness and also share information on vessels of interest.

Need: Operation Sankalp has been launched in wake of escalating tension in Gulf of Oman, where two oil tankers, one Norwegian-owned and other Japanese-owned were attacked on 13 June 2019. This incident has led to heightened tensions between Iran and United States (US). Although, it remains unclear that who was responsible for attacks but US has put the blame on Iran, which, in turn, has denied all allegations.

Importance of Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman

World’s major oil exporters and importers have a joint interest in security of Gulf of Oman this is because Gulf of Oman offers the only entrance from Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean into Persian Gulf.

Persian Gulf is an arm of Arabian Sea, lies between Arabian Peninsula and Iran, extending from Shatt al Arab delta to Strait of Hormuz. Approximately 50% of world’s total oil reserves are estimated to be found here.

Shaheen-II: successfully test-fired by Pakistan

Pakistan has successfully test-fired a land-based ballistic missile named ‘Shaheen-II’. The impact point of missile was in the Arabian Sea.

Key Highlights

  • Background: On 9 March 2004 Pakistan successfully test fires a medium-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile Shaheen-II from an undisclosed location. Now on 21 May 2019 Pakistan test-fired intermediate-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile which could 2,000 km (1,250 miles).
  • About: The test was conducted to ensure operational readiness of Pakistan Army’s Strategic Forces Command.
  • Shaheen-II is a highly capable missile as it fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards maintenance of desired deterrence and stability in region.

About Shaheen-II Missile

  • Nomenclature: Shaheen missile series is named after a Falcon (bird) species that lives in Pakistan’s mountains.


  • It is a land-based supersonic intermediate-range surface-to-surface guided ballistic missile.
  • Warheads: It is capable of carrying all kinds of warheads i.e. both conventional (high explosive) as well as nuclear warheads.
  • Range: It is capable of hitting targets up to 1,500-2000 kilometers. Thus is capable of reaching major cities in neighbouring India.