India advocates strategy to counter piracy

India`s Ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri termed piracy off the coast of Somalia a "serious problem" for the international community.

Updated: Jan 12, 2012, 11:52 AM IST

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

"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

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.