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Indian Merchant ships to carry weapons to tackle sea pirates

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by RoYaN, Mar 13, 2011.

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  1. RoYaN

    RoYaN Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Aug 22, 2010
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    Our Special Correspondent

    NEW DELHI, March 12: India will now allow her merchant ships to carry weapons to fight sea pirates in the Indian Ocean. This is one of the steps announced in Parliament on Friday by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna to tackle the increasing menace of sea piracy. The move comes two days after an uproar in Parliament over the plight of Indians held captive by Somali pirates. The Indian Navy will take prompt action if any Indian-flagged merchant vessel or any other vessel carrying Indian crewmen.

    Making a statement in the Lok Sabha after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Krishna said that "actions" by the Ministries of Shipping, External Affairs and Defence will address the "legal, administrative and operational aspects of combating piracy".

    According to the decisions taken by the CCS,

    * Merchant vessels with Indian flags will carry weapons;

    * A new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be put in place for the Indian Navy and coordination of the Navy’s activities with counterparts of friendly countries in the Gulf of Aden;

    * The Navy will promptly act — without waiting for sanction — if any ship with Indian flag or Indians on board is attacked by pirates;

    * In the event of a pirate attack, Committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary will serve as a crisis management group and coordinate with all agencies and relatives of hostages.

    * An inter-ministerial group will be established under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary.

    As of now, 53 Indian seafarers are in captivity on five different ships. Krishna said that India will "intensify diplomatic efforts through consultations with the governments of Egypt and the UAE, where the owners of captured vessels with Indian crewmen on board reside, as well as with governments of other nationalities who are also being held hostage."

    The government will step up "diplomatic efforts at the multilateral level and within the UN framework," Krishna declared.

    India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982. There is also a national law governing the vast coastal region within the sovereign territory. India’s sprawling borders run a total length of 15,106km. Its coastline accounts for half of this (7,517 km), and touches nine states and four union territories. Its exclusive economic zone stretches to 2.01 square km.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, sources said India is planning legislation that will empower its security forces in general, and the Indian Navy in particular, to fight the pirates on the high seas to rescue their victims and even sink their boats.

    In recent years, several hundred Indian crewmen have been kidnapped and dozens of ships hijacked in the Indian Ocean by Somali pirates to collect hefty sums as ransom from the vessel owners. India has sent her warships to rescue crewmen in distress. In a couple of incidents, the pirates’ vessels were fired on in retaliation and sunk. A few Somali pirates were captured alive, taken to Mumbai, and their vessels seized.

    A proposal to bring legislation to deal with sea pirates was one of the steps discussed at a recent meeting of the Committee of Secretaries to counter the menace of sea piracy in the Indian Ocean.

    The legislation will allow Indian forces to fight the pirates on the high seas to rescue their victims, and sink their vessels if necessary. If the pirates are captured during such rescue missions, they will be brought to India and put on trial.

    At present, Indian forces on rescue missions limit themselves to freeing those being held hostage by the pirates. The proposed legislation will empower them to use weapons against the pirates and sink pirate ships.

    However, there are no specific provisions in the law at present to deal with sea piracy, and the government is open to the idea of bringing separate legislation in the wake of hijackings of merchant vessels. An official said: "A decision will be taken after inter-ministerial consultations on whether a new law should be enacted, or if changes should be made in the existing laws."

    Indian Merchant ships to carry weapons to tackle sea pirates
  2. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Captain SENIOR MEMBER

    Dec 13, 2010
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    That's a great move and was due for long. Now the IN will be a little less burdened with both maritime security and national defence.
  3. madrasjat2000

    madrasjat2000 FULL MEMBER

    Mar 12, 2011
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    There is nothing wrong with anti piracy law and arming merchant navy men
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