Piracy and Floating Armouries in the Indian Ocean: Risk or a Solution?

A modern dhow suspected of piracy

A modern dhow suspected of piracy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Riddhi K Shah
Research Associate, National Maritime Foundation (NMF), New Delh

Rising trends in piracy in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Somalia, over the last few years have forced States to adopt innovative and collaborative approaches as effective counter-measures.The once tabooed private military security companies (PMSCs) are an attractive option today, which has triggered a huge demand for it. As of 2013, close to 140 security firms reportedly operated in the Northern Indian Ocean, the bulk of which were conceived in 2011.

The modus operandi is generally to place a team of four armed contractors on each ship for a specific length of the transit; these are generally passages that have been declared as High-Risk Areas (HRA). It is when these ships carrying armed PMSC contractors enter ports that the legal complications begin. Use and transport of arms are subject to international maritime conventions and treaties. Declaration of arms onboard before entry into territorial waters is mandated by several States, while a select few choose to completely debar weapons onboard any visiting vessel. Continue reading


India, China and the Pirates

March 06, 2012  By Nitin Gokhale

An agreement between China, India and Japan to coordinate over combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden is an encouraging sign of military cooperation. But it’s no panacea.


Relations between India and China look increasingly to be running along two parallel tracks – one of cooperation, the other competition.

While New Delhi and Beijing keep a wary eye on each other’s activities along the border, there’s growing engagement at the highest political and diplomatic levels. For example, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna made a three-day visit to China last month, meeting key Chinese leaders ahead of the BRICS summit to be hosted by India in April. As The Hindu newspaper reported at the time, “China appears to have laid out the red carpet for Mr. Krishna, arranging four high-level meetings for the minister in one day – a rare occurrence, according to diplomats.”

Krishna held talks with Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang and State Councillor Dai Bingguo, a meeting that followed Dai’s trip to India the previous month. Dai is China’s Special Representative on the boundary talks, and the two countries tooka major confidence building step in January, setting up an institutionalized border mechanism that “allows for real time contact between the two countries’ foreign offices in the event of a border intrusion by either side.”

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War games spotlight China-Pakistan hype

South entrance of Expo 2010 Shanghai, near the...

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Paratroopers hurtling head first out of planes, attack helicopters strafing a terror training centre and shacks blown to bits were this week’s latest embodiment of ChinaPakistan friendship.

The war games conducted by 540 Chinese and Pakistani soldiers running around scrubland – the fourth joint exercises since 2006 – were ostensibly a chance for China to benefit from Pakistan’s counter-terrorism experience.
There was disappointment that fighter jets were unable to carry out a bombing raid, with visibility apparently poor, but the exercises were declared a success in terms of deepening friendship and improving military cooperation.
But behind the pomp rolled out for the Chinese, complete with slap-up marquee lunch and bags of presents, the relationship is as transactional as any other as China competes with Pakistan’s arch-rival, India, for Asian dominance.
And it is far from easy to decipher. “They operate silently so as not to make any statements in public apart from cliches. So one doesn’t know what’s happening,” said retired Pakistani general Talat Masood.
China is Pakistan’s main arms supplier, while Beijing has built two nuclear power plants in Pakistan and is contracted to construct two more reactors.
But the alliance has been knocked by Chinese accusations that the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which wants an independent homeland for Xinjiang’s Muslim Uighurs, is training “terrorists” in Pakistani camps.

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China, Pakistan boost anti-terrorism

The coat of arms of Pakistan displays the nati...

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11:00 PM, Nov. 25, 2011  |

Written by The Associated Press

JHELUM, Pakistan — The Pakistani and Chinese attack choppers swoop low across the valley, strafing a mock terrorist hideout and a bomb-making factory. Then a joint commando team storms the camp — to the gentle applause of top brass from both nations watching from the stands.

The fact that such a drill is needed reflects a new concern troubling their long-standing alliance: Chinese militants along the Afghan border allegedly aiding separatism in China and plotting terrorist attacks there

Countries around the world, especially the U.S., share Chinese concerns about Pakistan’s militant-infested tribal regions, but few get the same kind of public commitment of help as Beijing. It’s a legacy of China’s oft-hailed “all-weather friendship” with Pakistan.

Anti-terror cooperation is the latest example of the special relationship between the neighboring countries.

China’s good will is vital to Pakistan: China is its largest defense supplier, and it has helped construct two nuclear reactors. Chinese investments help keep the Pakistani economy afloat.

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How will India respond to terrorism?

Criticized over mild reaction to Mumbai attacks, New Delhi will likely strive to avoid `wimp’ label

NEW DELHI–As India prepares to hold its Republic Day celebration Tuesday, security around markets, historic sites and government buildings is being beefed up to protect against a possible attack.Meanwhile, tensions are escalating over speculation about how India would respond to such a strike.

After the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, when Pakistan-based militants killed more than 170 people, there was a public outcry for a military response. Continue reading

India – Youth arrested for posing as Salman on website

Time zone of India in relation to its neighbou...
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PTI, 28 January 2010, 10:40am IST

SURAT: A youth was arrested for allegedly drawing donations from fans of Bollywood star Salman Khan through a  fake website, Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) officials said today.

Intakhawab Alam was arrested yesterday from Rander for posing as Salman Khan on a fake website created by him, they said.

He used to reply to fans and keep the website updated, ATS officials said.

Alam had created a website under the name of Bollywood actor Salman Khan and used to send messages to fans and asked for their comments and opinions on articles written on the site. Continue reading

Mamata warns WB govt not to use UAPA against intellectuals

India-West Bengal

Updated on Monday, October 05, 2009, 20:09 IST

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee today warned the Left government in West Bengal not to use the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against intellectuals.

Her warning came two days after the West Bengal government declared that those demanding release of Maoist-backed tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato were punishable under the Act. Continue reading