INS Sukanya, an offshore patrol vessel based at the Eastern Naval Command headquarters, Visakhapatnam, has begun patrolling the Straits of Malacca as part of India's commitment to assist the international coalition against terrorism.
Sukanya becomes the second Indian Navy vessel to escort high-value coalition shipping through the straits. According to a navy spokesman, it will continue operations for the next three months.
INS Sharda, an offshore patrol vessel of the Kochi-based Southern Naval Command, was the first ship to offer escort services in the straits after intelligence agencies warned of a major terrorist threat in the region.
After several rounds of consultation between the United States, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, India and other littoral states, regular escorts for high-value goods in the straits were instituted.
The escort service began with INS Sharda in April this year. US Navy vessels are assisting the Indian Navy in this duty. In the beginning, Sharda carried out joint activities with the USS Cowpens to understand the coalition's needs and to gain better understanding of the operations.
Under the understanding between the US and India, escort duties are divided between the navies of the two countries for a period of six months each. American vessels will take over the duties in October.
The Straits of Malacca constitute the second busiest sea-lane in the world. The huge amount of oil passing along this route from the Persian Gulf to the Far East makes it highly vulnerable to terrorist threats.
The Indian Navy says the escort duties "in a low-intensity maritime operations environment" has given it invaluable experience in safeguarding merchant shipping against piracy and terrorist threats and operating at extended ranges of more than 2,000 miles from base.
India, US look to strengthen naval cooperation
Back to top
Tell us what you think of this report