India for multilateral coop against Somali pirates

The government has favoured "multilateral cooperation" against Somali pirates under a UN framework to safeguard maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the Gulf of Aden.

Last Updated: Mar 16, 2011, 18:55 PM IST

New Delhi: The government has favoured
"multilateral cooperation" against Somali pirates under a UN
framework to safeguard maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean
Region (IOR) and the Gulf of Aden.

Pointing out that that IOR is "central" to India`s
maritime interests and concerns, the Defence Ministry in its
annual report has said, "The linkages between terrorists based
in Somalia and transnational organised crime is a cause of
major concern."
"India is in favour of strengthening multilateral
cooperation under a UN framework to meet the complex
challenges of maritime security... The increased incidence of
piracy in the IOR is an issue of serious concern," the report
for the year 2010-11, which was released today, said.

Referring to incidents of piracy near the Lakshadweep
islands, it said, "The presence of Somali pirates in the
waters around our western island territories has been an
unwelcome development which require heightened vigil."

Highlighting the role of the Navy in the piracy-hit
areas, the Ministry has mentioned, "The Indian Navy has been
actively involved in combating maritime piracy in the region
on its own and in coordination with the Navies and coalition
forces of various countries in the Gulf of Aden."

The Defence Ministry has further stressed that India`s
maritime interest involves safeguarding of its coastline,
island territories, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and securing
the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC).
"India`s economic development is crucially dependent on
sea because of the criticality of sea-borne trade in an
increasingly inter-linked world and the potential of vast
economic resources of the oceans," it said.

Dwelling on the security scenario in the immediate
neighbourhood, the report says the relation with China is of
"crucial importance", and India is conscious and watchful of
the implications of China`s evolving military profile in the
immediate and extended neighbourhood.

"India`s policy is to engage with China on the
principles of mutual trust and respect and sensitivity for
each other’s concerns," it said.

On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the report has
implicated Pakistan "due to undiminished activities of
terrorist organisations from its territory."

"The continued infiltrations across the Line of Control
(LoC) and existence of terrorist camps across Indo-Pak border
demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its
attitude and approach to terrorist organisations," it said.

The report further said that such terrorist organisation
also "pose a danger to Pakistan`s own social and political
fabric".

Expressing concerns over political developments in West
Asia and North African countries, the Ministry in its report
said, "The impact of these developments on the security
situation in the region and on the security of energy supplies
is of global concern".

India will continue to engage these countries on the
basis of mutuality of respect and interests, it added.

On the meeting of Defence Ministers of ASEAN countries,
the report said, "ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus forum
of ten ASEAN and eight non-ASEAN countries, including India,
is an effort to establish an open and inclusive security
architecture for the region."

"India`s policy is to encourage and participate in
cooperative approaches which would enable all countries in the
region to counter traditional and non-traditional security
challenges and to ensure that the critical sea lanes in the
region are kept open and secure," it said.

On Myanmar, the report says India continues to engage
with its eastern neighbour and cooperation in security matters
is being enhanced.

"The Government of Myanmar has reciprocated India`s
gestures of goodwill and friendship," it said.

On Sri Lanka, the report said that India supports
Colombo`s efforts to find a lasting political settlement.

"India stands ready to enhance bilateral cooperation in
a range of areas, including defence and security," it said.

PTI