India advocates strategy to counter piracy
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Last Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 11:52
United Nations: India has advocated adoption of a comprehensive counter-piracy strategy by the international community to tackle the growing problem of maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Addressing a UN Security Council meeting on Somalia here, India's Ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri termed piracy off the coast of Somalia a "serious problem" for the international community.

With Somali pirates holding 19 ships and 331 hostages as of October last year, Puri yesterday said combating maritime piracy is an important issue intrinsically linked with the security situation in Somalia.

He said given the growing scope of the problem, "the international community has to think about adopting a comprehensive counter-piracy strategy," which should involve a "UN-led anti-piracy force to conduct naval operations."

This would help achieve greater coordination in anti-piracy operations by various naval forces.

The global strategy should also include enactment of national laws on priority to criminalize piracy and effective sanitization of the Somali coastline along with identifying safe corridors and buffer zones.

"We stand ready to help in capacity building of the Transitional Federal Institutions and the states in the region for effective measures against piracy off the coast of Somalia," he added.

Puri noted that India has taken several steps including anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since 2008 and has also deployed its ships in Eastern and North Eastern Arabian Sea, measures which have helped neutralize several piracy attempts.

"While we will continue our counter-piracy operations, there is also an urgent need for the international community to address the serious problem of hostage-taking by pirates and consequent humanitarian problems faced by the hostages and their families," Puri said.

Noting that the situation in Somalia is at a "crossroad", he said concerted long-term commitment of the international community is required to assist the Somali people in their efforts for restoration of peace, security and economic development.

On the security front, Puri said militant group al-Shabaab has been able to carry out regular attacks, including against high profile targets.

"There is also a need for this Council to take further measures... to restrict the resources that al-Shabaab earns from use of ports," he added.

India also called on UN member states to make "uncaveated contributions" to the UN and African Union Trust Funds for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and enhance support for forces of the Transitional Federal Government, the current internationally recognised government of Somalia.

India has contributed two million dollars to the funds without any caveats for AMISOM operations in 2011 and it stands ready to provide further support to AMISOM, Puri said.


First Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 11:52

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