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India calls for maritime security off Somali coast


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 16 — The Indian minister of state for external affairs, Preneet Kaur, on Tuesday said that it is crucial to safeguard the supply routes off the Somali coast.

“Maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia and the humanitarian plight of hostages held by pirates remain a major cause of concern for India,” she told an open debate of the UN Security Council on Somalia.

The supply routes need to be protected to prevent the Somali militant group Al-Shabab from benefiting from illegal maritime trade and piracy, she noted.

Al-Shabab “remains a major threat to peace and stability in Somalia,” and has turned to “asymmetrical warfare” despite the international community’s efforts for stabilization of the security situation in Somalia, she added.

Meanwhile, Kaur pointed out that “much of India’s trade passes through the Gulf of Aden, estimated at over 160 billion U.S. dollars annually.”

Also, “Indians constitute seven percent of the world’s seafarers and a consequence of piracy has been the tremendous human cost that these seafarers have to pay,” she said.

“According to the (UN) secretary-general’s latest report, 259 hostages from 18 ships are still held by pirates. Of these, 43 are unfortunately Indian nationals,” she noted.

“The changing security situation demands further augmentation of resources for African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), including enablers and force multipliers,” the official urged.



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