Somali pirates are gradually shifting their base towards India, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said in Bhubaneshwar on Sunday.
“Piracy is a big threat in this region. Navy of several states are engaging them. But off late Somali pirates are shifting their base towards India,” Parrikar said.
He was speaking in an international seminar on Indian Ocean in Bhubaneshwar.
Somali pirates have been a considerable threat to international shipping for a long time now. They have attacked hundreds of vessels in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean and in many cases kidnapped the crew members.
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.
Maritime Security News:
Curious comments from the Indian Defence Minister, given the country’s push in recent years to have the boundaries of the High Risk Area re-drawn due to the lack of pirate activity in its waters. The image below shows piracy and maritime crime reports for the Eastern Indian Ocean between March 23rd 2014 and March 23rd 2015:
As can be clearly seen, there have been no reports of piracy close to the coast in the last 12 months. Looking more closely at robbery reports from India, the picture is a little different:
However, the markers shown represent robberies against ships and not action by Somali pirates. By suggesting Somali pirates are moving closer to India’s shores, the Minister would appear to have made HRA limit negotiations a little harder for India, given the relative safety its waters are currently enjoying.