The Indian Navy can now go after Somali pirates without hindrance. It has been authorised for “hot pursuit” of pirates into Somalian waters. A country’s territorial waters extend to 12 nautical miles from its shore.
Till now, the navy did not have the mandate to chase pirates into Somalian waters.
A senior official said the navy had been given the permission to chase Somali pirates across the country’s maritime boundary under certain circumstances. “Different laws apply when it comes to chasing pirates in territorial waters of another country. In the case of Somalia, we now have this permission. It will go a long way in checking piracy,” he said.
The navy is also planning to strengthen its presence in the Gulf of Aden. INS Tabar, a stealth frigate with marine commandos aboard, has been patrolling the waters off the Gulf of Aden since October 23. Two days after it sank a pirate vessel, the navy said it could deploy more warships to secure maritime trade and protect Indian assets. A Delhi-class destroyer will soon be deployed there.
The Ministry of Shipping had suggested that four warships be deployed.
Another senior official said the navy was exploring the possibility of deploying more warships in the Gulf of Aden. The officer, however, said it was impossible for any nation to single-handedly combat piracy. “We are looking at positioning more warships to make patrols more effective. But the real solution lies in better coordination between international navies.”
India on Thursday asked the UN to form a peacekeeping force to combat piracy.
The Defence Ministry had earlier said Indian warships could not intervene in Somalian waters because of UN Security Council Resolution 1816, which authorises only states cooperating with Somalia’s transitional government to enter its waters.