NEW DELHI: India’s navy will deploy guided-missile destroyer ships in the Arabian Sea after an Israel-affiliated merchant vessel was struck off the Indian coast over the weekend, in an effort to “maintain a deterring presence,” it said late on Monday.
The Indian navy was investigating the nature of the attack on the vessel, MV Chem Pluto, which docked in Mumbai on Monday, and initial reports pointed to a drone attack, the statement said.
“Further forensic and technical analysis will be required to establish the vector of attack, including type and amount of explosive used,” the statement added.
A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry on Monday called a US claim that Iran had attacked the ship near India “baseless”.
The Pentagon said on Saturday that a drone launched from Iran struck the MV Chem Pluto in the Indian Ocean. The strike came as a US-led task force is trying to counter similar challenges in the Red Sea.
“Considering the recent spate of attacks in the Arabian Sea, Indian navy has deployed guided-missile destroyers INS Mormugao, INS Kochi and INS Kolkata …in various areas to maintain a deterring presence,” the navy statement said.
The navy said a joint investigation into the attack was being carried out by various agencies after its explosive ordnance team completed its analysis.
The vessel’s crew included 21 Indians and one Vietnamese citizen.