During the launching of INS Imphal, the third of the Navy’s four “Visakhapatnam-class” warships, on Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh declared that India would find those responsible for attacks on Merchant Navy ships, “even from the depths of the sea”, and punish them.
“The government has taken the drone attack on MV Chem Pluto in the Arabian Sea, and on MV Sai Baba in the Red Sea, very seriously,” he stated. “The Navy has stepped up its surveillance… we will track down the perpetrators of this attack, even if they are on the seafloor.” The perpetrators shall face legal consequences.”
India is the “net security provider (for) the entire Indian Ocean region”, he said, stressing that the government will “work with friendly nations” and ensure the safety of maritime trade in the region.
The comment came after the Navy confirmed MV Chem Pluto was attacked by a drone two days ago.
A Pentagon spokesperson said Sunday the ship was hit by “a one-way attack drone fired from Iran”.
The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are supported by Iran, launched many attacks against the crucial Red Sea shipping route in the midst of the Israel-Gaza conflict, the most recent of which occurred 400 kilometers off the west coast of India.
The oil tanker, MV Chem Pluto, was assaulted as it was sailing from a Saudi Arabian port toward Mangaluru, Karnataka, flying the flag of Liberia. According to officials, the drone attack started a fire on board.