India favours multilateral coop against Somali pirates

India favours multilateral coop against Somali pirates

Pointing out that that IOR is "central" to India's maritime interests and concerns, the Defence Ministry in its annual report has said, "The linkages between terrorists based in Somalia and transnational organised crime is a cause of major concern."

"India is in favour of strengthening multilateral cooperation under a UN framework to meet the complex challenges of maritime security... The increased incidence of piracy in the IOR is an issue of serious concern," the report for the year 2010-11, which was released today, said.

Referring to incidents of piracy near the Lakshadweep islands, it said, "The presence of Somali pirates in the waters around our western island territories has been an unwelcome development which require heightened vigil."

Highlighting the role of the Navy in the piracy-hit areas, the Ministry has mentioned, "The Indian Navy has been actively involved in combating maritime piracy in the region on its own and in coordination with the Navies and coalition forces of various countries in the Gulf of Aden."

The Defence Ministry has further stressed that India's maritime interest involves safeguarding of its coastline, island territories, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and securing the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC).

"India's economic development is crucially dependent on sea because of the criticality of sea-borne trade in an increasingly inter-linked world and the potential of vast economic resources of the oceans," it said.

Dwelling on the security scenario in the immediate neighbourhood, the report says the relation with China is of "crucial importance", and India is conscious and watchful of the implications of China's evolving military profile in the immediate and extended neighbourhood.

"India's policy is to engage with China on the principles of mutual trust and respect and sensitivity for each other’s concerns," it said.

On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the report has implicated Pakistan "due to undiminished activities of terrorist organisations from its territory."

"The continued infiltrations across the Line of Control (LoC) and existence of terrorist camps across Indo-Pak border demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its attitude and approach to terrorist organisations," it said.

The report further said that such terrorist organisation also "pose a danger to Pakistan's own social and political fabric".