Indian Navys claim of Net Security Provider in Indian Ocean Region stand busted as Indian Navy abruptly called off its much touted Maritime Security Operation, Operation Sankalp, in the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf. According to reliable reports, the Indian Navy ships escorting Indian oil tankers have silently left the Gulf of Oman. The ignominious and sudden end of the much publicized Operation Sankalp raises eyebrows about the capability and capacity of the Indian Navy to become a regional policeman in the Indian Ocean Region.
Following the maritime security incidents of attacks on oil tankers in Persian Gulf June this year, Indian Navy instead of joining US led force deployed two of its surface combatants in the area to provide support for Indian-flagged vessels operating and transiting through Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. As per Indian Navy claims, aerial surveillance by their aircraft was also being undertaken in the area. Following the commencement of so called Operation Sankalp, Indian media was replete with statements about Indian Navy teams boarding Indian flag carriers and ensuring their safety in endangered Strait of Hormuz Area. Efforts undertaken by the Indian Navy as part of the Operation Sankalp were projected as mega event indicating Indian wherewithal to secure its sea lanes of communication from the Persian Gulf region which carried approximately 55% of the energy requirements. According to the report, the much hyped Indian operation has been abruptly ended and both Indian war ships vacated the Straits of Hormuz thus concluding the operation whose objectives remain unfulfilled as situation in Hormuz still remains volatile.
The ignominious closure of Operation Sankalp appears to have more to do with deficiencies of Indian naval capabilities than external factors. Contrary to Indian claims of a blue water navy capable to perform net security provider role in the Indian Ocean, its capability falls far short of any such title. Reliable sources also reported after recent developments in J&K, Indian Navy cancelled schedule goodwill visit of its naval ships to Gulf countries which substantiate the fact that so called Blue Water Navy is struggling to meet its operational requirement. Even Modis Doctrine of “Pursuit of Political Influence through greater Maritime Power” during his last term could not help Indian Navy to gather desired Military Potential. Moreover, calling off of Operation Sankalp is a testament of poor logistics support for prolonged sustainability at sea, shortage of manpower & material requirements that plague the Indian Navy. Contrary to the tall claims made through the pliant Indian media, the Indian Navy could not maintain a sustained presence in the Strait of Hormuz and was forced to withdraw.