Addis Ababa: India on Thursday made a strong
pitch to the UN to take the lead in evolving a comprehensive
response to the threat of international piracy in the Red Sea
and off the coast of Somalia to ensure unhindered maritime
Simultaneously, the international community should
continue with efforts to restore stability in Somalia, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh said while addressing the joint
session of Ethiopian Parliament here.
Singh, who is the first-ever Indian Prime Minister to
visit Ethiopia, said as a littoral state of the Indian Ocean,
India is ready to work with Ethiopia and other African
countries in this regard.
The Prime Minister received a standing ovation from a
packed Parliament as he entered with his wife Gursharan Kaur.
"The Horn of Africa is today faced with threats from
piracy and terrorism. International piracy in the Red sea and
off the coat of Somalia has become a well-organised industry.
It is important that the United Nations take the lead in
developing a comprehensive and effective response to this
threat," Singh said.
"We would all like the Indian Ocean to remain a secure
link between Asia and Africa through which international
maritime trade can take place unhindered," he said.
India has repeatedly voiced its serious concerns over
the threats posed by Somali pirates since about 11 per cent of
seafarers engaged by international shipping companies are
Indian nationals, some of whom have been taken hostage.
There have been over 200 attacks, including about 70
successful hijackings and ransoms believed to exceed USD 50
have been paid to the pirates for securing the release of
hostages and ships.