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Indian Navy chief calls for maritime environment to be devoid of all types of threats

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Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Navy chief Sunil Lanba and other officers during the Goa Maritime Conclave - 2017 at Dabolim on Wednesday. A PTI Photo.

PANAJI (PTI): Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba has said undermining the maritime disputes resolution mechanisms and muscle-flexing is resulting in a fragile security situation at many places.

He also said that to make mutually beneficial use of the seas, it would be ideal if the maritime environment was devoid of all types of threats.

He was addressing the inaugural function of the Goa Maritime Conclave which aims to address the maritime challenges in the region.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was also present on the occasion on Wednesday.

"In order to make mutually beneficial use of the seas, it would be ideal if the maritime environment was devoid of all types of threats--traditional or non traditional--both at sea and from the sea," Admiral Lanba said.

This paradigm of maritime security is spread over a wide spectrum and involves safety and law enforcement in national maritime zones, and maintaining good order at sea, he said.

"The maritime domain is witnessing increasing competition. In this environment, the traditional maritime security concerns primarily appear to rise out of certain trust deficit between countries," he said.

"Although conflict resolution mechanisms have been established to address concerns between nations, undermining these institutions by unilateralism and maritime muscle flexing is resulting in fragile security situation at many places," Lanba said.

This security situation is leading nations into seemingly unending vortex of action-reaction matrix, resulting in further rise in insecurities on all sides, he said.

Without naming any country, Lanba said in the traditional domain, an expansionist behaviour by certain nations has historically been and continues to be the main cause of concern.

"In addition to these non-traditional threats such as piracy and drug-trafficking, maritime terrorism has captured considerable attention of maritime security agencies," he said.

Another emerging menace is illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and poaching. "This is leading to over-fishing as well as rapid deterioration of the endangered maritime species. We need to take a long term view on this," he said.

Lanba said most of the security concerns in maritime domain have developed a distinct hybrid trans-national character.

"The maritime nations are accordingly putting into place a process to deal with the changing nature of these threats," he said.

The naval chief said no single nation can effectively counter the challenges rising in the maritime domain.

"Therefore, nurturing resilient maritime security architecture will play a significant role in facilitating it," he added.

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