Scourge of Piracy off the Somali Coast and Significant Multilateral Initiatives for Maritime Security

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India՚s Maritime FP

  • India has a vision of the Indian Ocean unshackled from historical divisions and bound together in collective pursuit of peace and prosperity
  • As a mature and responsible nations, one of our foreign policy interests is to evolve a regional architecture based on the twin principles of shared security and shared prosperity
  • We have friendly bilateral relations with almost all the states in the Indian Ocean region
  • Maritime security is an important dimension of our relations with ASEAN countries, in particular Singapore and Vietnam
  • We have strong historical and civilizational ties with many of our maritime neighbours
  • Maritime security is emerging as an important element of our dialogue architecture with various countries
    • Periodic bilateral exercises
    • Information exchanges through maritime domain awareness
    • Sharing of best practices in areas such as search and rescue
    • Maritime safety, pollution control,
    • Maritime law enforcement – counter narcotics and counter piracy
    • Training, exercises and humanitarian assistance
    • Disaster relief
    • Exchange of views on promoting a regional security architecture that enhances maritime security

In addition to bilateral interactions, we are actively engaged with almost all regional bodies

  • EAS
  • ARF
  • GCC
  • SADC to the African Union

Scourge of Piracy off the Somali Coast

  • Poses a serious problem for safety of maritime traffic as well as the well-being of crew members
  • Approximately $ 110 bn of our trade passes through the Gulf of Aden
  • At India՚s specific instance the UNSC through resolution 1976 expressed serious concern over the piracy and hostage-taking off Somali coast
  • India is engaged with other countries on capacity building and consultations in the area of anti-piracy to devise measures for keeping open access points to avoid choking international trade
  • Indian Navy commenced anti-piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden from 2008
  • Since then, 25 Indian Navy ships have been deployed
  • In addition to escorting Indian flagged vessels, ships of other countries have also been provided protection
  • India is the founding member of the ‘Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia’ (CGPCS) established in Jan 2009

Significant Multilateral Initiatives for Maritime Security

Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)

  • Launched in Feb 2008
  • Provides a platform for all IOR littoral navies
  • ARF (ASEAN) has recognized that maritime security is an indispensable and fundamental condition for the welfare and economic security of the region
  • The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) is the first regional Government to Government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery at sea in Asia
  • The ASEAN + 8 Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM Plus) Plus is a significant milestone in the evolving security architecture in the Asia Pacific region. The ADMM Plus has identified five areas of cooperation – maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) , military medicine, counterterrorism and peacekeeping operations.

Maritime Neighbourhood Policy

Issues like coastal security consolidation and fisheries cooperation are also very much within the domain of our foreign policy concerns.