Mauritius seeks Indian support in combating piracy

Mauritius seeks Indian support in combating piracy

In his speech at a banquet hosted in honour of visiting President Pratibha Patil, Ramgoolam recalled his visit to India in 2005 after which New Delhi had responded to Mauritian request for assistance in building its maritime security capacities.

"Only a few days ago I launched a state-of-the-art coastal surveillance system," he said. "Indeed, India continues to play a key role in strengthening our security and in helping us to combat piracy."

Since April 2009, with the assistance of the Indian Navy, a marine commando force comprising 21 commandos has been set up to combat piracy in the high seas, he said.

Simultaneously, the Indian government has been deploying on a six-monthly basis, naval ships to Mauritius for the joint surveillance of our Exclusive Economic Zone with a view to combating piracy, illegal fishing and to reinforce maritime security in the region, Ramgoolam said.

"India and Mauritius have a shared interest in the stability of the Indian Ocean and I'm confident that we shall continue to work together in responding to security threats at sea and ensuring the safety of our sea lanes, the arteries of our trade with the outside world," he said.

He also said that Indian naval vessels have conducted several hydrographic surveys for Mauritius free of charge, thereby enabling this country to revise its antiquated nautical charts and to create new ones.

"The production of these bathymetric charts proved vital for the preparation of our submission to the United Nations for the extension of our Continental Shelf. This submission has now been unanimously approved by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf," he said.

The speech of the Mauritian Prime Minister came in the backdrop of President Patil's announcement that both the countries were committed to jointly fighting piracy and enhancing security in the Indian Ocean, through mutually agreed measures.