New Delhi, Oct 9 (ANI): European Union Chair of the Contact Group of Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) will now redraw the eastern limit of the High Risk Area (HRA) in the Indian Ocean which is likely to address some of India’s maritime security concerns.
CGPCS announced the revision of the limits of the piracy HRA with effect from December 1.
India’s maritime security concerns have been highlighted by the Government of India (MoD/ Indian Navy, MEA, DG Shipping) in various forums since 2012.
Consequent to the spread of piracy to the East Arabian Sea, the international shipping industry extended the eastern limit of piracy HRA in June 2010 to 78oE longitude, thereby including the west coast of India within the HRA.
The extension of the eastern limit of the HRA from 65 oE to 78oE led to security concerns on account of the presence of private security personnel onboard merchant vessels transiting the piracy HRA, and the presence of floating armouries off the Indian coast.
The shipping industry also incurred additional costs for insurance and implementation of various recommendations for transit through the piracy HRA.
In addition to deployment of Indian Naval ships in the Gulf of Aden since October 2008 for anti-piracy patrols, robust action by the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard (Op Island Watch) led to the arrest of 120 pirates from four pirate ‘mother-ships’ between January-March 2011.
Affirmative action and increased surveillance contributed towards the decline of piracy incidents in the East Arabian Sea and the last reported piratical activity in the East Arabian Sea was in March 12.
The absence of piracy in the Indian maritime zones and adjacent seas, the security concerns and financial implications of an extended HRA led to India seeking a review of the HRA, with the support of numerous countries.
India remains committed to ensuring freedom of navigation in the global commons and strengthening maritime security in the region especially in the East Arabian Sea. Towards this, Indian Naval ships and aircraft continue to escort merchant ships of all nations in the Gulf of Aden. (ANI)