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Prosecuting pirates in India a problem area: Navy Chief

Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma

NEW DELHI (PTI): After nearly two years of active anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia, Navy has found it difficult to prosecute the sea brigands its warships apprehend as there is no provision under the Indian laws.

Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said here Thursday that there was a problem in India as there were no laws to prosecute the pirates caught in the high seas by the Indian warships.

"There is a problem in India on legal aspects. Our laws do not cover this (piracy) aspects. If you bring them and cannot prosecute them, then they have to go free," he said at his annual press conference.

Indian Navy has been deploying its warships in the Gulf of Aden since October 2008 and has escorted over 1350 warships in the region with not one of them coming under attack.

It has also warded off about nearly two dozen pirate attack on merchant vessels, both Indian and foreign-flagged, after they sent out a distress call.

Giving the example of Western countries, which also have ships patrolling the pirate-infested waters, Verma said they are funding the prosecution of the pirates they nab in Kenyan courts, which had laws for this purpose.

"Others do as we do...throw their fuel and weapons overboard and let them drift in the seas," he added.

"The Navy has discharged its responsibilities with distinction and we continue to have a ship on patrol in the Gulf of Aden escorting merchant ships in direct coordination with the Director General Shipping," he said.

"At least 22 piracy attempts have been averted by the Indian Navy's ships patrolling the Gulf of Aden. India is engaged with other countries on capacity building and consultations in the area of anti-piracy for keeping access points open and avoid choking of international trade," he added.

Late last month, the Navy also deployed a large force in the Arabian Sea about 300 to 400 nautical miles off India's western coast to carry out patrols after several incidents of piracy attempts were reported and reports of pirate movement started coming in.


Navy  India  

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