Indian Navy Uses Elite Strike Team for Its First CTF Drug Interdiction

Indian frigate
Indian frigate Talwar undertook the first interdiction since joining the CMF in November 2023 (CMF photos)

Published Apr 19, 2024 9:49 PM by The Maritime Executive


India’s navy is continuing to demonstrate its prowess joining the world stage among the most elite strike teams. The Combined Maritime Force (CMF) CTF 150 which is currently being led by the Canadians reports India recently undertook its first interdiction of illicit narcotics as a member of CMF. 

The Indian frigate Talwar contributed to Focused Operation Crimson Barracuda which CTF was undertaking to interrupt the smuggling of illicit narcotics in the Arabian Sea. The effort was launched to help interrupt smuggling which CTF highlights is used to fund terrorist activity in the region. CMF consists of 42 nations assigned to patrol across 3.2 million square miles of water and the Indians distinguished themselves alongside similar efforts by the UK’s Royal Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. India joined CMF in November 2023. 

An elite Indian strike force was deployed aboard the frigate as they commenced the patrol. On April 13, CTF reported the Indian commandos intercepted a dhow. Searching the vessel, they seized a total of 940 kg of narcotics, including 453 kg of methamphetamines, 416 kg of hashish, and 71 kg of heroin. Other units of the commando teams have recently distinguished themselves in efforts to interrupt hijacking by Somali pirates.

“I commend the crew of INS Talwar for their efforts throughout this Focused Operation and their hard work has paid off with this seizure of 940 kg of drugs,” said Royal Canadian Navy Capt. Colin Matthews, Commander, Combined Task Force 150. “This seizure, the fourth of this Focused Operation, demonstrates the effectiveness and professionalism of CMF, and of the Indian Navy, in deterring and disrupting criminal and terrorist activities at sea.”


Indian commando team shows off their first seizure for the combined force (CTF)


In addition to the Indian-led seizure, the force reports HMS Lancaster seized a total of 3,300 kg of narcotics on April 10 and 11 in two back-to-back raids. The same day that the Lancaster completed its first seizure after returning to activity duty in the region, the USCG Clarence Sutphin Jr. also completed her latest seizure. 

USCG vessels have been successful on several raids in the past and on April 10 the Sutphin seized a further 257 kg of methamphetamines, 92 kg of heroin, 17 kg of amphetamines, 296 kg of hashish, and 15 kg of marijuana from another dhow in the Arabian Sea. Six days earlier on April 4, the USCG Glen Harris also completed her second seizure in the current operation. Her crew seized nearly 400 kg of illegal drugs from a dhow in the Arabian Sea. The Canadian commander highlighted it came after a March 5 interdiction by the Harris which seized 770 kg of methamphetamines from another dhow.


US and UK forces were also part of the Canadian-led Focused Operation (CTF)


Captain Matthews commended all the crews involved in the operations. He said the exceptional multinational cooperation was an example of the capabilities and positive influence of the CTF in the region.