Incidents of piracy on high seas come down

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New Delhi, Feb 13 (UNI) Incidents of piracy on the high seas have declined considerably since India ratified a regional agreement one-and-a-half years ago.

This was pointed out in talks between Brigadier General (NS) Tay Lim Heng, Chairman of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (ReCAAP), and Vice Admiral R F Contractor, Director General, Indian Coast Guard (DGICG) and Vice Chairman of ReCAAP, here.

Brig General Tay Heng is leading a four-member ReCAAP delegation on a visit to India to discuss steps to enhance cooperation and force building.

India acceded to ReCAAP on June 6, 2006. The agreement aims at enhancing cooperation amongst its 16 member countries, including the ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

It enables the maritime forces to seize ships or aircraft involved in piracy and armed robbery besides information sharing, capacity building and cooperation for extradition and mutual legal assistance.

In the ASEAN, only Malaysia and Indonesia have not ratified the treaty. ReCAAP achieved a distinction when it concluded an agreement with the International Maritime Organisation in December last year.

During his stay in New Delhi, Brig General Tay Heng also held talks with Mr P K Rastogi, Special Secretary, Ministry of Defence.

The four-member ReCAAP delegation will visit the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), which is also the Piracy Reporting Centre in India, and participate in a table top exercise on piracy control during their visit to Mumbai over the next two days.

The Coast Guard is India's nodal agency for ReCAAP. The role of the Indian Coast Guard shot into fame when it tackled the 1999 piracy incident of M V Alondra Rainbow.

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