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S Jaishankar Moves Bill to Combat Piracy, Improve India’s Maritime Trade Security

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday took up for consideration a bill that seeks to provide an effective legal instrument to combat piracy in territorial waters, exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and high seas.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who moved the bill said: “This Bill along with the amendments would provide an effective legal instrument to combat piracy not only in territorial waters and the EEZ but also on the high seas.”

ANI reported the minister adding how India’s security and economic well-being is inextricably linked to the sea and maritime security. More than 90% of the country’s trade with the world take place through sea routes and more than 80% of hydrocarbon requirements being seaborne.

“The security of our sea lanes of communications is critical to our national well-being. India is also one of the largest providers of seafarers in the world. We are a signatory to the UNCLOS, 1982 which was ratified in 1995. The passing of the bill will fulfill the expectations of this Convention for cooperation and repression of piracy in the high seas,” he added.

The minister also revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a UN Security Council session in 2021 which focused exclusively on maritime security. “The passing of the Bill today is a logical follow-up of our maritime initiative, and will also enhance our maritime security including those of our trade routes, and the welfare of our seafarers in international waters. It, therefore, merits for consideration and passing of the Bill,” he said.

Congress member Manish Tewari, while discussing the bill, said that the coasts of Somalia and Yemen have been piracy-prone now for almost a decade-and-a-half.

“Unfortunately, since 2008-2009, Somalia and Yemen have been in a rather disturbed state of affairs. Therefore, the Gulf of Aden, the North Arabian Sea, the coasts of Somalia and Yemen have been piracy-prone now for almost a decade-and-a-half, if not more. For India, the sea lanes of commerce, especially the ones which transit through these seas and also the ones which then transit from the Hormuz to the Malacca, really constitute the lifeblood of our global trade,” he said.

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