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Indian navy to deploy warships in Arabian Sea

India plans to deploy warships in the Arabian sea after a recent attack on a merchant ship. The US alleged the attack was by Iran, which Tehran has denied.

India's navy said Monday it will deploy three guided-missile destroyer ships in the Arabian Sea to "maintain a deterrent presence," after a merchant vessel was struck off its coast over the weekend. 

The Liberian-flagged and Japanese-owned MV Chem Pluto which was attacked docked in the west Indian coastal city of Mumbai on Monday. Authorities said initial reports suggested a drone attack, and that the navy was investigating further. The crew included 21 Indians and one Vietnamese citizen.

New Delhi is also boosting its anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden after Somali pirates this month hijacked the bulk carrier MV Ruen.

What are India's plans for the ships?

"Further forensic and technical analysis will be required to establish the vector of attack, including type and amount of explosive used," the navy said in a statement.

The navy said the explosive ordnance team had completed its analysis, and a joint investigation into the attack would be carried out by various other departments.

"Considering the recent spate of attacks in the Arabian Sea, Indian Navy has deployed Guided Missile Destroyers, INS Mormugao, INS Kochi and INS Kolkata various areas to maintain a deterrent presence," the statement said.

India had also sent a guided-missile destroyer to the region as part of "augmenting the anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden", the navy added.

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said his country would strive to ensure security for maritime trade in the region.

"India plays the role of a net security provider in the  entire Indian Ocean region," he said. 

The US had claimed Iran attacked the Israel-affiliated MV Chem Pluto near India. A spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry called this accusation "baseless."

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have carried out several drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel has launched attacks on Hamas militants.

Source: Dw

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