23:58 GMT26 January 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Amid the deteriorating security situation in the Gulf region after the attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Oman in June 2019, the Indian Navy had commenced Maritime Security Operations, code named Op SANKALP, in the Gulf Region.

    The Indian Navy has reviewed the situation in the maritime waters of the Gulf region amid missiles fired by Iranian forces on US military bases housing coalition forces in Iraq on Wednesday.

    The navy said the operation Sankalp is progressing in close coordination with all the stakeholders to ensure safe passage of Indian Flag Vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz, a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

    “Indian Navy continues to monitor the situation in the Gulf region and is maintaining a presence in the region to ensure security of our sea borne trade and the safety of Indian Flag Merchant Vessels transiting through the region,” the statement issued by the navy reads.

    The Indian Navy stated that it stands committed to the protection of the nation's maritime interests, while adding that one war ship is presently deployed for Operation SANKALP.

    The navy revealed that regular inter-ministerial meetings have been held to review the evolving maritime security situation in the region.

    Indian Navy warships and aircraft were deployed to establish a presence, provide a sense of reassurance to the Indian merchantmen, and monitor the ongoing situation while also responding to any emergent crisis.

    Indian merchant vessels use the Strait of Hormuz to ship crude from Gulf nations. Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia are the key Middle Eastern nations from where India imports crude oil. In 2018-19, Iraq was the top supplier of Indian crude, followed by Saudi Arabia.

    On Wednesday morning, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), a combined arms force having its own ground forces, navy, air force, intelligence, and special forces, launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at American forces in Iraq. It was in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the Commander of the IRGC's elite Quds Force, at the Baghdad International Airport on 3 January.

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    Tags:
    America, Strait of Hormuz, Iraq, Iran, Indian Armed Forces, Indian Navy
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