‘Maritime terrorism gains roots in Indian Ocean’

August 9th, 2008 - 4:27 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) Maritime terrorism has gained roots in the Indian Ocean region, the Indian Navy says. Delivering a lecture on the Vision of the Indian Navy, its chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta denied presence of Al Qaeda terrorits in the region but said there had been a marked increase in maritime terrorism across national boundaries.

“Maritime terrorism across national boundaries has gained momentum in the Indian Ocean. Armed aggression has increased and multinational cooperation is required to curb it,” Mehta said.

The Indian Ocean provides the shortest link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It accounts for nearly half of the world’s container traffic, while two-thirds of the world’s oil imports flow through this region.

Over 200 ships pass through the Malacca strait daily. More than 15.5 million barrels of oil is shipped from the Persian Gulf by tankers each day through the Gulf of Hormuz. The Persian Gulf with 65 percent of the world’s reserves holds the key to global energy and economic progress.

The Indian Navy chief sought better human resource management and training for shipbuilding, ship repair, intelligence sharing, surveillance and other measures against common threats of maritime terrorism and piracy, environmental protection and in other areas of ocean management.

The Indian Navy has proposed setting up of an apex body to oversee and coordinate all maritime activities including shipping, fishing and navy itself for better security and protection of maritime assets.

“An apex body needs to be formed to manage maritime affairs for quick decision making and rapid response. Currently, the fisheries and other resources are under agriculture ministry, shipping is under a separate ministry,” Mehta said.

“We need to have an organisational structure in which representatives of both these ministries sit together along with the Indian Navy so that we can take action that will be required when there is an emergency situation,” he added.

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