Indian navy hailed by global.experts after it saves multiple ships

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The Indian Navy’s operation which successfully rescued the crew of a commercial ship, MV Ruen, from the clutches of Somali pirates off the coast of Somalia last weekend is being lauded by experts as a testament to India’s military capabilities.

The operation involved a meticulously coordinated effort — showcasing strategic prowess and precise execution — went on for nearly two days and employed a diverse array of assets.

According to an official statement by the Indian Navy, the rescue operation saw the deployment of advanced resources, including a navy destroyer, a patrol ship, an Indian Air Force C-17 transporter, marine commandos, naval drones, reconnaissance drones, and a P-8 surveillance jet. This multifaceted approach, experts note, exemplifies the sophistication and efficiency of India’s maritime defence strategy.

John Bradford, an International Affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, hailed the operation as a demonstration of the Indian Navy’s excellence in training, command, and control. “What marks this operation as impressive is how risk was minimized by using a coordinated force that includes the use of a warship, drones, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and marine commandos,” Bradford remarked in an interview with CNN.

The MV Ruen’s capture by Somali pirates in December last year had raised concerns over the resurgence of piracy in the region. With the vessel operated by a pirate crew, its departure from Somali waters prompted swift action from the Indian Navy. Utilizing sophisticated surveillance techniques, including ship-launched drones, the navy confirmed the presence of armed pirates onboard the Ruen.

Following an exchange of fire between the pirates and the INS Kolkata destroyer, the Indian Navy took decisive action to disable the ship’s steering and navigation systems. Meanwhile, Indian Air Force commandos, parachuting in after a 10-hour flight from India, and marine reinforcements swiftly approached the vessel, further tightening the noose around the pirates.

The relentless pressure exerted by the Indian Navy culminated in the surrender of all 35 Somali pirates involved in the hijacking, as stated in the navy’s official communication. The successful rescue mission garnered praise from international quarters, with Bulgarian leaders expressing gratitude to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their role in safeguarding the crew of the hijacked ship.

Analysts underscored the professionalism and training of India’s maritime commando force, known as MARCOS, highlighting its rigorous training regimen modelled after elite units such as Britain’s SAS. Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain, emphasized the Indian Navy’s extensive experience in anti-piracy operations spanning over two decades, indicating the likelihood of continued engagements in securing one of the world’s vital maritime routes.

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