Persian Gulf India warships — India announced Thursday that it has sent two warships and increased its aerial surveillance in the Persian Gulf, where tensions are growing between Iran and the United States.
The ships “INS Chennai and INS Sunayna have been deployed in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to conduct maritime security operations,” said the Indian Navy, quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI). The goal is “to reassure the Indian flag vessels operating and transiting through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, following maritime security incidents in the region,” said the navy.
In a climate of great tension between Washington and Tehran, US President Donald Trump said Thursday that Iran had made “a huge mistake” by shooting down an American spy drone. The Pentagon says the plane was shot down in international airspace, but the Iranian Revolutionary Guards say the drone violated Iran’s airspace. Washington had already accused Iran of being responsible for the attacks on ships in the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, and through which the bulk of the world’s oil passes. “An aerial surveillance by the Indian Navy is also underway in the area,” said the Navy quoted by PTI.
The Indian ambassador to the United States said in May that his energy-hungry country had halted its imports of Iranian oil to comply with US sanctions.
Tensions between the United and Iran are at an all-time high following the downing of a US drone by the Iranian military. US President Donald Trump has tweeted his anger, which prompts experts to fear a possible retaliation.
Iran however maintains that the US drone shot down on Thursday, June 20, “violated Iran’s airspace”.
The drone “was hit at 4:05 Wednesday by 25 ° 59’43” [North latitude and] 57 ° 02’25 “[east longitude],” writes Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister. “We found pieces of the US military drone in our territorial waters at the place where it was shot,” the minister added.
The Iranian diplomat said earlier that Iran plans to bring the case “before the UN”, to show that “the United States is lying”. Washington claims that the aircraft was shot down while in international airspace.
The US military has also released a video allegedly showing a patrol of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGs), the elite corps of the Iranian army, in the Arabian Sea that would prove that Iran is indeed behind the attack of two Japanese tankers Thursday on June 13th.
Iran has also denied this attack.