In a decision taken by the global oil and shipping industry to revise the piracy ‘High Risk Area’ (HRA) and shift its eastern boundary away from the western coastline of India to 65 degree East longitude, India welcomed the decision and said it reflects the changed ground realities. The shift is expected to come into effect from December 1.
With an increase of piracy-related incidents along the coast of Somalia, the HRA had been extended from 65 degree East longitude to 78 degree East longitude in 2010. As a result, the international maritime forces since then have undertaken counter-piracy operations to combat piracy in this region. The role of the Indian Navy also has to be taken into account in ensuring maritime security and played a critical role in these operations. Due to the success in these operations, there hasn’t been any piracy attack in the 65 degree East longitude for more than three years.
Stressing on the need to revise the HRA back to 65 degree east longitude, India had been demanding the revision for security and economic implications. “The shipping traffic had moved closer to the Indian coast and the heightened alert had resulted in unfortunate incidents of firing on Indian fishing boats mistaken as pirate skiffs. India had taken up this matter at the meetings of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as well as bilaterally with the members of the CGPCS,” according to a statement by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
The decision to revise the HRA will now help in making optimal utilisation of international resources to combat maritime piracy by focusing international efforts on the actual high risk areas. International collaboration has largely been successful in the coast of Somalia by improving maritime security and containing maritime piracy. India has actively contributed to international efforts to combat maritime piracy and has committed to ensure support in future to strengthen global maritime security.
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