Oman Current Affairs - 2019

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 Indian Navy deploys P81 to increase Anti-Piracy Patrol

The Indian Navy recently deployed its P8I surveillance planes for carrying out anti-piracy patrol sorties from Salalah (in Oman) to patrol the Gulf of Aden and other piracy prone areas.

Key Highlights

  • Objective: The deployment is an expansion of Navy’s Mission Based Deployments (MBD) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), to keep the region safe.
  • Background: Since 2008, India has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the commercially and strategically crucial Gulf of Aden. This is the second time in 2019 that the P-8I was operated from Salalah for anti-piracy. First time it was operated in January 2019.
  • Services: Indian Navy provides escorting services to Indian flagged vessels as well as provides protection to ships of other countries. Till date Indian Navy has deployed 73 ships on anti-piracy patrols and has escorted over 3,440 ships, out of which 3,027 were of foreign flag and 413 were of Indian flag. Also, no ship under Indian escort has so far been hijacked by pirates.

About P-8I

  • Background: In 2012, India placed orders from United States for 12 ‘P-8’ India maritime surveillance and anti-submarine under a $2.2 Billion deal. The deal was later followed up with four more order of these planes.
  • Function: It is used for carrying out extensive surveillance of the Indian Ocean region (IOR) and the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • Features
  • It is long-range anti-submarine warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
  • It is capable of providing a long-range Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).
  • It has also helped in detection of Chinese nuclear and conventional submarines operating in IOR and other regions close to India.

About Mission Based Deployments

With the increasing geo-strategic importance of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Indian Navy regularly deploys ships for Presence and Surveillance Missions (PSM), off critical choke points or sea lanes in IOR. Under MBD concept, since August 2017 Indian Navy deployments in IOR have been further structured such as that Navy maintains a ship at every choke point in IOR at any point of time.

Way Forward

  • India has stepped up its cooperation with Indian Ocean littoral states and maritime neighbours, as part of expanding its maritime engagement. Also, ‘search and rescue’ operations and capability-enhancement activities have also emerged as key areas.
  • Under India’s Neighbourhood First policy, Navy undertakes various maritime exercises such as Joint Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance exercise with Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives Coordinated Patrols (CORPAT) exercise with Indonesia, Myanmar Thailand and Bangladesh.

World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief

As per the report of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, India has retained its position as the world’s top recipient of remittances (money sent back home by its nationals working abroad) in 2018.

World Bank Report on Remittances

  • Indian diaspora has sent $79 billion (approximately Rs 5.5 lakh crore) home.
  • The Remittances grew by more than 14% in India.
  • A flooding disaster in Kerala has likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families.
  • India received $ 62.7 billion remittances in 2016 and it was $65.3 billion in 2017.
  • India was followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico ($36 billion), the Philippines ($34 billion) and Egypt ($29 billion),
  • Remittances to low-and-middle-income countries rose 9.6% from 2017 and touched a record high of $529 billion in 2018.
  • Global remittances reached $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017.
  • Remittances to South Asia grew 12% to $131 billion in 2018.
  • The upsurge in remittances was driven by stronger economic conditions in the United States.
  • The pick-up in oil prices had a positive impact on outward remittances from some GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries.
  • Excluding China, remittances to low and middle-income countries ($462 billion) were significantly larger than foreign direct investment flows in 2018 ($344 billion).

Gulf Cooperation Council

Gulf Cooperation Council is s a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf except Iraq. Its member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.