Powerful people backing sea brigands: Antony

Observing that cases of piracy were increasing at an alarming rate, A K Antony said the real problem was located on land where powerful people were backing the sea brigands.

New Delhi: Observing that cases of piracy
were increasing at an "alarming rate", Defence Minister A K
Antony on Monday said the "real problem" was located on land where
"powerful people" were backing the sea brigands.

Addressing a seminar on Indian Ocean Region (IOR), he
said the area was a "complex domain" as it was "unfortunately"
host to many of the global concerns.

"Piracy cases are continuing at an alarming rate. The
challenge of piracy is yet to be effectively quarantined.

There is a consensus that while the pirates can be neutralised
at sea, the real solution lies in addressing the root causes--
which are complex and are actually located on land.

"That is the real problem in addressing the issue of
piracy at the moment.Pirates are only the front as there are
powerful people behind them," he said.

The Indian Navy has deployed its warships in the Gulf of
Aden since 2008 to escort merchant vessels safely through
piracy-prone areas there.

The minister said India has put forward certain proposals
before the United Nations to tackle piracy, for which a
"consensual and cooperative" effort was required.

Commenting on the IOR against the backdrop of increasing
presence and interest of countries such as China, Antony said,
"The region unfortunately hosts many of the global concerns,
which makes Indian Ocean a complex domain.

"Unlike the Atlantic and the Pacific, few of the major
powers are geographically contiguous to its waters and yet
they have maintained a certain military presence and abiding
politico-diplomatic interest in these waters," he said.

Antony said the region has seen "new partnerships being
forged" and old anxieties being revived.


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