India to scale up military
presence in Gulf of Aden
Delhi/London/Dubai, Nov 20 (IANS) India is considering increased
deployment, including aerial reconnaissance, in the pirate-infested
Gulf of Aden after a spike in hijackings by Somali brigands
in the last fortnight that disrupted shipping in the world's
busiest sea lane.
Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta Thursday said even as New
Delhi is keen on a "collaborative" arrangement with
other countries to take on piracy in that strategic region,
the navy is also considering the option of aerial policing
to protects its ships.
recce will be considered in the Gulf of Aden. We are considering
augmenting our efforts to keep the Indian traffic in the region
safe," Mehta said.
men of war are mandated to take action in self defence,"
Mehta said talking about the retaliatory fire by Indian Navy's
stealth frigate INS Tabar Tuesday night that sank what was
called a Somali pirate 'mother ship' and forced them to abandon
an attack speedboat it was towing.
Tabar, which so far has escorted 35 merchant vessels passing
through the region, had also staved off pirate attacks on
two merchant ships last week.
pirates in the Gulf of Aden were involved in brazen acts of
piracy this week, having hijacked nine ships, including the
Saudi supertanker Sirius Star.
meanwhile, told Somalia in a diplomatic communication that
it will use "all necessary means" against pirates
operating against international merchant ships on key shipping
routes in the Indian Ocean.
have conveyed through the permanent representative of Somalia
in New York (representing the transitional federal government)
our desire to use all necessary means against repressive acts
of piracy," ministry of external affairs secretary (east)
N Ravi told reporters.
had recently at a meeting of the International Maritime Organisation
in London re-tabled its long-standing proposal to set up a
UN peacekeeping force to tackle pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
Gulf of Aden is vital for the trade and economy of India and
the rest of the world as it provides access to the Suez Canal
through which ships transit between Europe and Asia without
having to take the longer and more expensive route around
the southern tip of Africa. It is a crucially important route
for oil tankers.
sinking of the pirate ship has prodded others, including powerful
military nations, into announcing swift and coordinated action
in the Gulf of Aden.
military chiefs met in Brussels Wednesday to discuss anti-piracy
strategy after the International Maritime Bureau described
the situation as "out of control."
countries were said to be considering a "plethora of
proposals" to deal with the problem, but it wasn't immediately
clear if they discussed India's call - made last week - for
a UN force under a unified command.
Arab League also convened an emergency meeting in Cairo to
discuss how best to co-operate to deal with the growing piracy.
Indian Navy's action drew praise in Dubai too.
international community has not taken enough and quick measures
to tackle the pirates," George Katout of the Dubai office
of Barry Rogliano Salles, a Paris-headquartered shipbroking
company, told IANS.
the Indian Navy did was normal. But you must remember there
are many non-Indian ships plying on those waters," Katout
sources here said there was immediate need for a joint coordinated
action by the navies of different countries whose ships pass
through the Gulf of Aden.
is important for our commerce to go on," a senior Indian
diplomat posted in the Gulf said.
diplomatic source in Qatar said the recent defence pact India
signed with that Gulf nation during Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh's visit would help in wider international efforts to
counter piracy in the region.
pact covers the issue of maritime security as well.