A file photo of INS Vikramaditya. (AFP)
A file photo of INS Vikramaditya. (AFP)

Navy redeploys combat units in North Arabian Sea amid India-Pak tensions

  • Redeployment of the Indian Navy is to send a clear message to Pakistan that New Delhi was ready to thwart any possible surprise attack
  • The signalling by the Indian Navy ensured the Pakistan Navy to remain deployed close to the Makran coast and not venture beyond its territorial waters

NEW DELHI : India had deployed major combat units of the Indian Navy including aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya to send a clear message to Pakistan that New Delhi was ready to thwart any possible surprise attack in the wake of spiraling tensions after 14 February Pulwama attack, a government statement said Sunday.

The signalling by the Indian Navy ensured the Pakistan Navy to remain deployed close to the Makran coast and not venture beyond its territorial waters, the statement said.

The Indian aircraft carrier and nuclear submarines besides scores of other naval assets were in the Arabian Sea as part of TROPEX or the Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise, the largest war games in recent years when the 14 February Pulwama attack took place in which a suicide bomber rammed a car full of explosives into a bus carrying Indian security personnel. The attack claimed by the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed spiked tensions between India and Pakistan. Indian Air Force jets bombed a terrorist training camp in Balakot in Pakistan and Pakistan retaliated with its Air Force targeting military installations in India.

According to a press statement by the Indian Navy on Sunday, TROPEX had started on 7 January with some 60 assets of the Indian Navy, 12 from the coast guard and 60 aircraft and was supposed to end on 10 March.

However, the JeM sponsored terrorist attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama on 14 February “led to the rapid redeployment of the Indian Navy for Operations in North Arabian Sea," it said.

The ships, submarines and aircraft “swiftly transited from exercise to operational deployment mode as tensions between India and Pakistan escalated. A clear and resolute message regarding the operational posture of the Indian Navy to prevent, deter and defeat any misadventure by Pakistan in the maritime domain was also issued," during a tri-service press conference on 28 February, the statement said.

“The availability of such a large number of combat ready assets in the theatre of operations for TROPEX 19 allowed the Indian Navy to expeditiously respond to the developing situation in synergy with the three services," the statement said.

“The overwhelming superiority of Indian Navy in all three dimensions forced the Pakistan Navy to remain deployed close to the Makran coast and not venture out in the open ocean," it said.

Sunil Lanba, Indian Navy chief will be in Kochi on Monday for a day long review of TROPEX with key navy officers to “examine the conduct of the exercise and to assess the operational preparedness of the Indian Navy," the statement said.

“A realistic audit of the Indian Navy's deployment philosophy and fighting capability would also be undertaken. The lessons learnt from the exercise will provide the planners accurate assessments to fine tune force structuring requirements, operational logistics, as also material and training imperatives," it added.

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