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20 November 2012
Press Trust of India
UNITED NATIONS, 20 NOV: With piracy posing serious threats to nations, India has stressed on the need for adoption of a comprehensive counter-piracy strategy which focuses on efforts to deter pirates and ensures their prosecution and sentencing.
“Piracy is not only a threat to the freedom of maritime navigation, it is causing destabilising effects on global and regional trade and security.
“The negative humanitarian impact of this threat on seafarers who are the lifeline of maritime shipping can no longer be ignored,” India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri said yesterday during a UN Security Council debate on 'Maintenance of International Peace and Security : Piracy'.
The thematic debate was organised under India's monthly rotating Presidency of the 15-nation body.
The Council later adopted a Presidential Statement on the issue of piracy, which was initiated by the Indian delegation, and incorporates the concerns of several countries relating to the welfare of seafarers taken as hostages by pirates.
Mr Puri said the threat of piracy now looms over an area of more than 2.8 million square miles, posing the patrolling naval forces with a formidable task.
Despite increased naval presence, pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have continued, with little change in the level of violence by the pirates against seafarers.
As of August 2012, the Somali pirates were holding 11 ships and 188 hostages, including 43 Indian seafarers.
He said given the adverse impact the acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea have on maritime trade, seafarers and security, India attaches “high priority” to combating piracy, including in waters off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Guinea.
While naval ships deployed in the Gulf of Aden have been successful in thwarting several piracy attempts, the growing scope and expanding coverage of the problem indicates that the naval operations alone would not be sufficient to treat the menace of piracy, Mr Puri said.
“There is a need to adopt a comprehensive counter-piracy strategy, that includes efforts to deter pirates and the effective prosecution of pirates,” Mr Puri added.
Efforts toward prosecution and imprisonment of pirates cannot succeed without the effective involvement of the states in the region.
Capacity building not only of Somalia but also of other States in the region is an essential component of this strategy, he added.