Somalian Pirates shifting base to Indian Ocean: Manohar Parrikar

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Bhubaneswar: Expressing concern, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said that the Somalian Pirates are ‘shifting their location’ towards India, but also assured that the country is watchful over the developments.

Speaking at an international conference on India & the Indian Ocean, he said, “Somali pirates, after being neutralised by various countries’ navies, are shifting their locations towards India. Because their (shipping) lanes are heavily guarded, they have moved 30-40 nautical miles, although they still are 450 nautical miles away from India.”

He called for a greater cooperation between the neighbouring countries and said, “The Indian Ocean can be an enricher and also a destroyer, hence we should also be prepared for disaster and develop strong relationships and communication with neighbouring countries to avoid any kind of disaster.”

Stressing that the Indian Ocean region is very important for the country, Parrikar pointed out that it the ocean accounts for more than 50% of the world’s oil reserves and more than 45% of the world’s gas reserves. Somali pirates have been a threat to international shipping in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, especially in the Gulf of Aden,which is a busy route. The pirates are accused of making millions of dollars in ransom by seizing ships.

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.