Somali pirates, after being neutralized by various countries’ navies, are shifting their locations towards India, but the country is watchful to deal with such threats, says Indian Defence minister Manohar Parrikar.
Because their (shipping) lanes are heavily guarded, they have moved 30-40 nautical miles, although they still are 450 nautical miles away from India.
Somali pirates have been a threat to international shipping in the Indian Ocean and especially in the Arabian Sea
, and have made millions of dollars in ransom by seizing ships and kidnapping ship crews.
“They may not be next to India but… We are watchful and careful,” Parrikar said.
Indian vessels and Indian crew in international ships have often been the targets of Somali pirates and the Indian coast guard have successfully intercepted and seized pirate ships on many occasions.
Pitching for creation of a common platform for the Indian Ocean rim region, he further said, “We are in a common grid and are tied to each other. If India strengthens, being the focal point and located strategically, it can facilitate others.”
Stating that every litre of oil going to China and other countries is shipped through the Indian Ocean, Parrikar said 50 per cent of the Continent's trade goes through Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean can be an enricher and also a destroyer and hence India should also be prepared for disaster and develop strong relationships and communication with neighbouring countries.
"India's strength is its non-violence. And the nation can do this if it is strong. A strong person can dictate peace and not a weak one," the Defence minister said.
Therefore, Parrikar pointed out that the cooperation among the Indian Ocean Rim Countries needs to be strengthened. This is because, the sea is the power.
The defence minister said the Indian Ocean region
is accounts for more than 50% of the world’s oil reserves and more than 45% of the world’s gas reserves.