India, UAE to work together to counter piracy

May 18th, 2012 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) will work together to counter maritime piracy in the Gulf of Aden, for which the two sides will share intelligence and help build capacities in the troubled state of Somalia.

After their talks here, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan concurred on the need for both their countries to play a greater role in the fight against the scourge of piracy that has threatened global trade passing through the Gulf of Aden off Somalia.

“We attach great importance in working with all the countries, including UAE, to counter the scourge of piracy in the high seas,” Krishna said during the joint media interaction here, also referring to his meeting with the UAE foreign minister in April when the focus was on piracy and the means to tackle the menace.

“Both of us have agreed that our officials will work together and cooperate on tackling this menace collectively. We intend to share our knowledge, our intelligence, and cooperate effectively on this issue with UAE so that we as a group could tackle this scourge,” Krishna said.

On his part, Abdullah pointedly called for a positive change on land in Somalia, to better its economy and creating jobs that could wean the Somali youths away from piracy.

“Resolving piracy will not come unless we resolve Somalia…it is very important in these times we face piracy in Gulf of Aden and beyond, which I am very much pleased that UAE and India are working very closely,” Abdullah said.

“It is key that we have to resolve the source of the problem, which is the lack of government of unity…the void that has been created in Somalia,” he said.

He noted that UAE is already working with the central government and the local governments in Somalia, where apart from help and support to the governments, efforts were on to bring them together.

Work was also in progress by engaging the African Union and helping Somalia out of the many difficulties it faces, apart from proverty and drought.

“Beyond that, if we can help them build capacity in every way and form…that is the only way we can make sure the scourge of piracy is resolved. Here, the help and cooperation between our two countries (India and UAE) to Somalia and the African Union is key,” he added.

Somali pirates are currently holding over 60 Indian sailors as hostages along large tracts of the 3,300-km coastline of Somalia, seeking ransom from the merchant vessel owners for their release.

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