India, Malaysia discuss Malacca Strait security
India repeated its offer to share its expertise in maritime security with nations of the region.india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 19:05 IST
India and Malaysia discussed on Wednesday an offer from New Delhi to help patrol the Strait of Malacca, the main ship passageway between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
India repeated its offer to "share its expertise in maritime security with nations of the region," an Indian official said, after Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee met his visiting Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak in New Delhi.
Fears are increasing about piracy and possible terrorist attacks in the Malacca Strait, one of the world's most important waterways with 50,000 ships carrying about one-third of the globe's trade passing through it each year.
Security in the narrow stretch of water between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra is especially important for India as more than 50 per cent of its maritime trade sails through it.
Mukherjee unveiled India's offer to help out on Saturday during a regional security conference in Singapore.
"India's role is crucial for ensuring and maintaining long-term peace, stable balance of power, economic growth and security in Asia," Mukherjee told the annual gathering of officials and experts known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.
During his talks with Razak, Mukherjee stressed that India would only play a role if it got the nod to do so from countries around the Strait such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, the defence ministry official said.
Razak, who is also Malaysia's deputy prime minister, is on a six-day visit to India during which he is also slated to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
While he and Mukherjee were talking, delegations of the two countries met separately, he added.
India hopes a role in providing naval security would provide it with an opportunity to become a key driver of Asian prosperity alongside other countries like China and Japan, and give it greater bluewater dominance in the Indian Ocean.