Mission Sagar - II | UPSC

Mission Sagar – II | UPSC


Mission Sagar – II

      WHY IN NEWS:

Handing over Food Aid to Sudan by INS Airavat

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Defence


For PRELIMS it is important to understand this SAGAR mission objective , different phases , beneficiaries and map out the ship route today itself .

For MAINS strategic influence in IOR , Background of this issue is important . Let us dive in !


As part of ‘Mission Sagar-II’, Indian Naval Ship Airavat entered Port Sudan on 02 November 2020.



  • No Chinese ships controlled the Indian Ocean routes since the Chinese explorer Zhang He sailed in the 15th century, embarking on seven voyages.
  • Also, while increasing presence of Chinese naval ships in the Indian Ocean,
  • China has also been using sophisticated technology like Unmaned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) in the Indian Ocean.
  • The UUVs, apart from being used for science can also be used for tracking submarines and destroying mines.

 Chinese research vessel, the Shiyan-1 was operating in waters inside the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Andaman Islands .

  • China informed India that Type 093 nuclear-powered submarines would patrol Indian Ocean.
  • Looking at such economic and strategic importance of Indian Ocean islands as also recognized by other nations, SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) was launched by India in 2015.


The aim for SAGAR was tackling regional issues like providing humanitarian help to maritime neighbours and counter non-state actors like pirates in the Indian Ocean.

  • Sagar Initiative aims to develop economic and security cooperation with maritime neighbors.


  • Mission Sagar was launched on 10 May, 2020 to provide Covid-19 related assistance.
  • The assistance was to the island nations of Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles.


  • INS Kesari, which was on deployment to the Indian Ocean region on ‘Mission Sagar’, returned to India on June 28, 2020 traveling over 7,500 nautical miles over 55 days.
  • Launched on 10 May 2020, Mission Sagar was India’s initiative to deliver Covid-19 related assistance to the countries in the Indian Ocean region.

India’s humanitarian assistance included supplies of essential food items, medicines, Ayurvedic medicines and deployment of Medical Assistance Teams (MAT) to Mauritius and Comoros.

  • INS Kesari returned to India on  28June, 2020 after travelling 7,500 nautical miles over 55 days for ‘Mission Sagar’.
  • In Mission Sagar, India became the first responder to Mauritius and Seychelles by sending a consignment of life-saving drugs including hydroxychloroquine.


  • The Government of India is providing assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries to overcome natural calamities and COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Towards the same initiative INS Airavat is carrying a consignment of 100 Tonnes of food aid for the people of Sudan.
  • Mission Sagar-II, follows the first ‘Mission Sagar’ undertaken in May-June 2020.
  • Wherein India reached out to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, and provided food aid and medicines.

As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.

  • Mission Sagar-II, is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ .

Mission Sagar - II | UPSC

INS Airavat | Mission Sagar – II | UPSC

  • It highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her maritime neighbours and further strengthens the existing bond.
  • The Indian Navy is progressing this mission in close coordination with the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.


China has also managed to get a naval base in Djibouti and flexes its muscle time and again with advanced technology like UUVs and naval ships.

  • The importance of these critical straits of Bab el-Mandeb and Persian Gulf, should not be forgotten.
  • Indian investments into the port projects should increase.
  • Indian relations with Gulf countries have improved and this should be built upon.


  • Through Indian Ocean Commission observer status, India can have a say in another choke point of Indian Ocean-the Mozambique channel.

Mission Sagar can be extended to the Gulf countries and Indian Ocean stakeholder states to increase Indian legitimacy and build a positive image. 

  • India, in order to protect its interests in the Indian Ocean Island Nations, needs to start building infrastructure, conduct military exercises.


  • During the Covid-19 emergency, the Indian Ocean island nations were adversely affected due to their main source of economy- tourism, falling flat.

Maldives and Seychelles are within the top five countries whose GDP is dependent on tourism and travel is 32.5% and 26.4%, respectively.

  • These islands, already facing the brunt of climate change-rising sea levels, had to face this new unprecedented reality.
  • During such a tumultuous and unexpected crisis, Mission Sagar was much needed.


  • Other nations will try and increase their influence in the region.
  • The Russia-Iran-China naval exercise in 2019 in the Indian Ocean is evidence of this very threat.
  • This exercise started from Chabahar, a port constructed by India.
  • With rising economic and military prowess of Gulf nations, they are becoming a new challenge for India.

The extremely critical region of entrance to the Indian Ocean’s Sea Lines of Communication coincide with choke points of Bab el-Mandeb and Eritrea.

  • Gulf countries are investing heavily in port infrastructure and military bases.
  • The UAE was making a military base in Berbera, Somaliland, a semi-autonomous region, but now it will be converted into a civilian airport.
  • The purpose of both these bases is to control Bab el-Mandeb, the entrance to Western Indian Ocean.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Mission SAGAR is a major milestone in our engagement with the countries in the Indian Ocean Region, in line with Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR- Security and Growth for All in the Region’.
  • Helping the Indian Ocean Island Nations and developing positive relations with them is strategically significant for India.
  • Indian Ocean carries half of the world’s container ships.

One third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two thirds of the world’s oil shipments is carried by IOR making it the most important sea route.

  • Also, the Indian Ocean Island countries form the part of Indian Ocean Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs).
  • Sea lines of communication are very important for state’s economy and region’s economic health.
  • They are very important for commercial trade routes and also for military movements.
     SOURCES:  PIB  | Mission Sagar – II | UPSC



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