What is Mission Aspides?

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The European Union recently launchedMission Aspidesto protect commercial vessels in the Red Sea from attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

About Mission Aspides

  • It is a European Union (EU) naval mission to protect cargo ships in the Red Sea from attacks from Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
  • It will send European warships and airborne early warning systems to the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and surrounding waters.
  • So far, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium have said they plan to contribute ships.
  • Aspides vessels, whose operational command centre will be in the Greek city of Larissa, will have orders to fire on the Houthis only if they attack first and will not be authorised to shoot pre-emptively.
  • The mission is planned for one year but may be renewed.

Key Facts about Red Sea

  • It is a semi-enclosed inlet (or extension) of the Indian Ocean between the continents of Africa and Asia. It is one of the world’s warmest seas.
  • It is connected to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean to the south through the Gulf of Aden and the narrow strait of Bab El-Mandeb.
  • The northern portion of the Red Sea is bifurcated by the Sinai Peninsula into the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez, where it is connected to the Mediterranean Seavia the famous Suez Canal.
  • Bordering Countries:
    • Yemen and Saudi Arabia border the Red Sea to the east.
    • It is bordered by Egypt to the north and west and by Sudan, Eritrea, and Djibouti to the west.
  • This sea has a surface area of roughly 438,000 km2 and is about 2,250 km in length. 
  • The maximum width of the sea is 355 km, and the sea’s deepest point is 3,040 m at the central Suakin Trough, with the sea’s estimated average depth being 490 m.
  • Islands: Some well-known islands include Tiran Island, which is located near the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, and Shadwan Island, which is located at the entrance of the Gulf of Suez.

Q1) What is the European Union (EU)?

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states located primarily in Europe. The EU was established by the Maastricht Treaty, which entered into force on November 1, 1993. The main goal of the EU is to promote cooperation and integration among its member states in order to enhance economic and political stability in Europe. The EU has its own currency, the Euro, which is used by 19 of the member states. It has a single market where goods, services, and capital can move freely.

Source: EU launches Red Sea naval mission to protect shipping from Houthi attacks