India for enhanced international cooperation to fight piracy

December 17th, 2008 - 12:18 pm ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Dec 17 (IANS) Expressing grave concern over the increasing instances of piracy off the coast of Somalia, India has called for enhanced international cooperation and institutionalised coordination for all efforts to deal with piracy.”Not only must we institutionalize operational coordination among navies in the area, a mechanism must be set up for those involved in the anti-piracy effort to work with countries of the region in responding to the challenge,” Nirupam Sen, the Indian ambassador to the UN, said here Tuesday.

Addressing a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Somalia and the menace of piracy, Sen welcomed the announcement by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of the decision to establish a Contact Group in this regard.

India argued for a stronger UN role in any international effort to deal piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Observing that greater clarity is required with regard to the legal framework of dealing with apprehended pirates, Sen said common procedures need to be worked out to prosecute those arrested.

“It is important to stem the flow of weapons and to make those involved in planning, financing and enabling acts of piracy accountable, including by blocking their access to revenues generated from ransoms. This is required as payment of ransoms is encouraging further acts of piracy,” Sen said.

India, along with several other countries, has deployed naval vessels to protect its ships in the region.

“We have had some successes in this regard, including as recently as last weekend, but we recognize that piracy remains a significant threat,” Sen said.

Piracy in Somali waters and off the coast of Somalia, the Indian ambassador said, is not only a threat to Somalia and its neighbourhood, but also to international commerce, peace and security.

India is directly affected by piracy, Sen said, adding: “Attacks not only impact upon shipping to and from Indian ports and our extended neighbourhood, they also exact a heavy impact upon us, since the international merchant marine has a substantial proportion of persons of Indian origin.”

At the end of the debate, the Security Council decided through a resolution that, for the next one year, states and regional organisations cooperating in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off Somalia’s coast could undertake all necessary measures “appropriate in Somalia”, to interdict those using Somali territory to plan, facilitate or undertake such acts.

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