Sunday, June 6, 2010

India and Seychelles join forces against Somali pirates

After activating a comprehensive security cooperation agreement with Maldives, India will increase maritime cooperation with Seychelles and will help the island nation deal with the increased incidents of piracy occurring near its waters, reports the Indian Express.

While the Navy already has a warship deployed in the Seychelles since April last year — after Somali pirates shifted base near the island chain due to increased international patrolling in the Gulf of Aden — the two countries have agreed to enhance the cooperation during the state visit by Seychelles President James Alix Michel.

“India and Seychelles have agreed to work together in controlling piracy in the Indian Ocean, so that we can try to make sure that this area is safer for economic development. Both countries face the same threat from piracy,” Michel said, addressing a business meet in the capital after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Seychelles is strategically located in the Indian Ocean near some of the busiest commercial sea lanes in the world through which a bulk of the world’s energy supplies pass.

In the past year, there have been increasing incidents of piracy near Seychelles that have hurt its economy as it depends on tourism and fishing for revenues. India had first deployed a warship, the INS Nirdeshak, after an urgent request by the country in April last year after pirates struck in its waters. India now keeps a warship permanently in the area to thwart any piracy attempts after a request by the nation.

The flagship patrol vessel of the Seychelles Coast Guard, the SCG Topaz, has also been dispatched back to the island nation after a major overhaul. The Topaz, a fast attack craft that was being refurnished at a cost of over $ 4 million at Visakhapatnam, will be gifted to the nation by India.

Source: Minivan News

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