New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday said India was taking steps to augment its capabilities to fight piracy and terrorism.
Addressing the 8th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting, the Defence Minister said, “The various challenges including menace of piracy and armed robbery, drugs and arms trafficking and unregulated and unreported fishing to name a few, threaten both short-term and long-term stability of the region”.
The meeting is being attended by 17 heads of Coast Guards from Asian countries including China, Asia, Japan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia.
“From theft it has come to dangerous maritime terrorism with a destructive aim. Piracy has also come from hijacking in high seas to theft of cargo to taking hostage for ransom. Piracy and terrorism are not only destabilising the economy but also have serious implications for security,” he said.
Antony said in the complex scenario where Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) are being used for human trafficking and movement of stowaways, “security forces must respond with a high degree of alacrity and professionalism, in real time.”
The Defence Minister said swift policy decisions by the governments, in keeping with the maritime environment, were of great importance in today’s scenario.
“Top priority must be accorded to the creation of safe and secure oceans. Governments and law enforcement agencies must implement national and international laws that can act as a deterrent for unscrupulous elements,” he said.