Responding to piracy

Responding to piracy

Defence minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday said a strategy to counter the threat of piracy would be put in place soon. It’s about time that steps to counter the menace were taken.

At the moment, 16 Indian sailors are being held hostage by pirates in Somali waters. The Horn of Africa and the Strait of Malacca are two well-known, pirate-infested regions where Indian shipping is threatened. These are places well within the reach of the Indian Navy to mount an effective response.

For the moment, the defence minister has ruled out hot pursuit of pirates. Hopefully, the strategy will have a military-naval component to it and will not be a mere reiteration of dos and don’ts for sailors and shipping companies. Shipping companies do take precautions and now more needs to be done.

This is where the government needs to step in. Protection of sea lanes is part of economic security of the country and cannot be wished away. Continued growth of trade depends on security of these lanes.