New York: India has expressed serious concern over piracy, particularly off the coast of Somalia, saying that the "menace" endangers lives of seafarers and affects national security.
"Piracy is a grave threat to the freedom of the seas, maritime trade and the security of maritime shipping. It endangers lives of seafarers, affects national security, territorial integrity and hampers economic development of nations," Counsellor in India`s Permanent Mission to the UN here V D Sharma said at a UN General Assembly session on `Oceans and the Law of the Sea` on Wednesday.
"We would like to express our serious concern over piracy and armed robbery at sea, particularly off the coast of Somalia," he said.
India is actively cooperating in international efforts to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea and supports joint and concerted efforts by the international community to tackle the menace, he added.
Given its geography as a country with a vast coastline and numerous islands, India has a traditional and abiding interest in the maritime and ocean affairs and takes keen interest in all matters pertaining to the oceans affairs, he said.
"We believe that it is in the interest of the international community as a whole to continue to extend full cooperation in efforts toward ensuring the proper management and sustainable use of the oceans and seas."
Noting that oceans play a vital role in supporting life on earth, Sharma said oceans are facing a number of challenges including from the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, deterioration of the marine environment, biodiversity loss, climate change and those relating to the maritime safety and security including the acts of piracy.
He said oceans have significant potential to contribute to energy needs, improve economic well-being and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"However, while the marine renewable energies offer opportunities, they also pose environmental and economic challenges, especially to developing countries, including with regard to undertaking scientific research and acquiring technological knowledge, which could only be met through effective international cooperation and coordination".
Sharma also pointed out that a number of gaps remain in the regulation, implementation, coordination and information sharing for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.