Indian waters not safe, pirates helped by some forces: Antony

Written by: Pti
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Kochi, Feb 8 (PTI) Voicing concern over recentincidents involving Somali pirates near Indian waters, DefenceMinister A K Antony today said some other forces were helpingthem and the country cannot be a mere spectator to it.

"Our waters are not safe like before. There are someother forces helping them (pirates). We cannot remain merespectators," he said, adding the forces are yet to beidentified.

The incidents point that the country''s coasts were notprotected and "if we are not vigilant, danger would not be farbehind", he said while inaugurating Bharat ElectricalLimited''s Product Support Centre at KINFRA Hi Tech Park atnearby Kalamassery.

Antony said Navy and Coast Guard would step up theirsurveillance along the Kerala-Lakshadweep-Tamil Nadu coast inthe wake of arrest of pirates off Lakshadweep islands.

More Naval and Coast Guard vessels and aircraft wouldbe deployed to increase surveillance, he said.

In the last one month, two vessels of the pirates hadbeen seized in joint operations by the Navy and Coast Guardand last year 14 ships were attacked by pirates near the 8Degree Channel in Lakshadweep.

Later talking to reporters, Antony said India hadstated that UN should provide the lead in combating piracy.

On the arrest of some suspected Pakistan and Iraniannationals from a fishing vessel a few months ago nearLakshadweep, he said probe was still on.

Asked about the recent killing of a youth in Kashmirby security forces, he said it was ''unfortunate'' and the armyhad ordered an enquiry. It was a case of mistaken identity, hesaid.

On the suicide by the uncle of Sandeep Unnikrishnan,the NSG commando who was killed during the Mumbai terrorattacks, he said it was a very ''painful'' incident.

The former Kerala chief minister refused to take anyquestions on politics saying, "No Politics, no masala."

Navy also provides a helping hand to fishermen who arein distress when at sea, he said.

The BEL''s centre had been set up to provide waterfrontsupport for the Southern Naval Command here and its to supportoutsourcing of Naval System projects to units of KELTRON.

Antony said the project, the foundation stone of whichwas laid in 2008 by him, could be completed in a record time,thanks to the support of the state government.

The Centre, state, local bodies had all come togetherto see the project became a reality, he said.

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