Pirate ship capture showcases India’s world-class special forces, analysts say

Pirate ship capture showcases India’s world-class special forces, analysts say - International News - News

Indian Navy’s Elite Military Capabilities on Display in Successful Anti-Piracy Operation Off Somalia

The Indian Navy’s daring rescue of the commercial vessel MV Ruen from pirates off Somalia’s coast last weekend is a testament to Delhi’s military forces developing world-class capabilities in special operations, according to defense analysts.

In this operation, which lasted almost two days and resulted in no reported casualties, the Indian Navy saved 17 crew members and apprehended dozens of pirates. The successful mission involved a naval destroyer, a patrol ship, an Indian Air Force C-17 transporter, marine commandos, drones, and a P-8 surveillance jet.

John Bradford, International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, expressed his admiration for the operation: “The success of this mission underscores the Indian Navy as a top-tier military force in terms of training, command and control, and other capabilities.”

Experts also noted that the coordinated use of various assets such as a warship, drones, fixed-wing aircraft, rotary-wing aircraft, and marine commandos significantly minimized the risks involved.

This operation comes at a time when the volatile security situation in the Red Sea due to attacks by Yemen-based Houthi rebels on commercial shipping poses a significant threat to global economy, potentially tying up international forces and providing an opportunity for Somali pirates in the Horn of Africa.

Somali pirates’ hijacking of the MV Ruen in December 2021 was the first successful act of piracy off Somalia’s coast since 2017. Indian, Spanish, Japanese, and EU naval forces monitored the Malta-flagged, Bulgarian-managed bulk carrier as it was taken into Somali territorial waters. However, when the Ruen left Somali waters with pirate intent on the high seas, the Indian Navy intercepted it.

INS Kolkata, a warship operating in the area to help ensure international maritime security, used a ship-launched drone to confirm pirate activity. After the pirates fired upon the drone and the Indian warship, Kolkata disabled the Ruen’s steering and navigation systems using precise gunfire. As the pirates surrendered under sustained pressure from the Indian Navy, marine commandos were parachuted in for a 10-hour flight from India.

Bulgarian leaders expressed their gratitude to the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the rescue operation.

Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain and analyst, praised the Indian Navy’s professionalism and noted that MARCOS, India’s marine commando force, had learned from its US and British counterparts. Schuster pointed out that “MARCOS’ nearly eight months of rigorous training mirrors Britain’s SAS.”

The Indian Navy’s experience in anti-piracy operations, which dates back more than 20 years, makes them likely candidates for future interventions in this strategically significant region. In a January media briefing, an Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson emphasized the importance of maritime security in the area for India.

“Maritime security in the region is a priority for us,” stated Shri Randhir Jaiswal, official spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. “The ongoing activities there are indeed a matter of concern and affect our economic interests. We are consistently monitoring the situation, and our naval forces remain engaged in ensuring the safety of our commercial vessels.”