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tension between US: tension and Iran: Navy on hold if Middle East News evacuation is required – India

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NEW DELHI: Navy awaits deployment of warships for Indian emergency evacuation if Iranian missile strikes on U.S.-led forces in Iraq intensify into broader conflict in East region Middle.

The Navy currently has a warship, the 4,000-tonne stealth frigate INS Trikand, deployed in the Gulf of Oman as part of the current “Operation Sankalp”, which was launched in June last year to safeguard Indian-flagged ships transiting by the Strait of Hormuz after some maritime safety incidents in the region.

“INS Trikand can be diverted to assist in evacuation if necessary. The Navy also keeps a couple of warships in full operational readiness, with all supplies, if they have to head to the Middle East,” one official said. Similarly, the IAF can deploy its heavy-duty aircraft as the C-17 Globemaster-III for evacuation if the need arises.

“Both the Navy and the IAF have helped evacuate stranded Indians from trouble spots before. Indian warships, for example, had evacuated Indians as well as war-torn foreigners from Yemen under Operation Rahat in early 2015. They have also provided regular assistance in India’s maritime neighborhood in times of natural disasters,” the official said.

Indian warships have been maintaining a continuous presence on both anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden and Operation Sankalp. Under the latter, the Navy has so far safely escorted more than 75 Indian merchant ships, with more than 80 tons of cargo on board, across the Hormuz Strait since early last year.

“Indian warships and aircraft were deployed to establish presence, provide a sense of tranquility to Indian merchants, monitor the current situation, and respond to any emerging crises. The Navy continues to monitor the situation in the Gulf region and maintains its presence there to ensure the safety of our maritime trade,” another official said.

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