Somalia seeks India’s help to quell piracy

November 21st, 2008 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) In recognition of India’s proactive role in combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the Transitional Federation Government (TFG) of Somalia has given the nod to the Indian Navy entering its territorial waters to “suppress” the scourge of piracy as mandated under international law, a naval official said here Friday.The letter from the Somali government intimating its decision reached the defence ministry Nov 19, a day after Indian Navy’s stealth frigate INS Tabar checkmated Somali pirates and sank one of their vessels and forced abandonment of another in the piracy infested Gulf of Aden.

“We had put up a request before the Somali government to play a greater role in suppressing piracy in the Gulf of Aden in view of the United Nations resolution. The TFG government gave its nod recently,” the official added.

The official denied reports that the Indian Navy had been given the mandate for “hot pursuit” of pirates in Somali waters as it poses a threat to the vital energy supply route for India.

“We have been given the mandate to function according to the UN resolutions which allows us to enter Somali waters to restrain piracy in the region. Calling it a mandate for ‘hot pursuit’ will not be the right interpretation.

“Our main concern will remain the ships under Indian flag, to deter piracy and instil confidence in the shipping community. The main role will remain patrolling and surveillance,” the official added.

In the UN Security Council resolution 1816 passed in June 2008, the international body had given permission for cooperating with the Transitional Federation Government (TFG) of Somalia to enter its territorial waters.

“For a period of six months from the date of this resolution, states cooperating with the TFG in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia may enter the territorial waters of Somalia for the purpose of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with such action permitted on the high seas with respect to piracy under relevant international law,” the UNSC resolution 1816 states.

Along with India, China has also put up a request for permission to enter Somali waters. However, the request is still pending even as Somali pirates hold captive two Chinese ships.

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