US Allies Reluctant On Red Sea Task Force, Only 12 Of 20 Countries Willing To Join

Syllabus: GS-II;

Subject: International Relations;

Topic: Global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Context: US President Joe Biden hoped to present a firm international response to Yemen’s Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping by launching a new maritime force, but a week after its launch many allies don’t want to be associated with it, publicly, or at all.


  • US launched Operation Prosperity Guardian to counter Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping.
  • Houthi attacks are in response to Israel’s actions, affecting global trade in the Red Sea.
  • The US seeks international support amid challenges from Iran’s proxies.
  • Only 12 of the claimed 20 countries in the coalition have been named publicly.
  • Italy and Spain distanced themselves from the coalition, citing public concerns over Gaza.
  • Concerns include public backlash, Houthi retaliation, and coalition cohesion.
  • Saudi Arabia, UAE, and India express disinterest or reluctance to join.
  • Pentagon aims to internationalize Houthi attacks, separating them from Israel-Hamas conflict.


Operation Prosperity Guardian:

  • Launched in December 2023, responds to Houthi attacks on Red Sea commerce.
    • Led by the US Secretary of Defence, it involves a multinational maritime security force patrolling the Southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
    • The coalition includes over 20 countries, such as Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the UK.
    • Notably absent are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as some maritime corporations avoid Red Sea routes.

    Who are Houthis:

    The Houthis, an Islamist force from northern Yemen, emerged in the 1990s, belonging to the Zaidi Shia Muslim minority.

India’s Stand:

India’s decision to stay out of Operation Prosperity Guardian is a strategic move driven by economic considerations, prioritizing trade interests and security concerns to avoid Houthi retaliation. Diplomatically, it reflects to maintain regional neutrality and balanced relationships. Domestically, it aligns with public sentiment, showcasing responsiveness. India’s proactive approach to regional security through alternative forums demonstrates strategic flexibility.

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