In 2012, the longitudinal marking of the high-risk areas for piracy was moved from 65° East to 78° east in the Arabian Sea by International Maritime organisation. What impact does this have on India's maritime security concerns?

Published: January 29, 2015

The modification in the areas considered high-risk for piracy from from 65° East to 78° east in the Arabian Sea by International Maritime organisation (IMO) has led to complications for India. While the IMO took this step so that ships may be ready to take evasive action against Somali pirates, the resultant effect has led to ships hugging India’s territorial waters. The change to 78° east has extended the high risk area very close to India’s waters. Thus, vessels seeking to avoid waters that are at high risk of attacks of pirates impinge on the fishing zones of Indian fishermen. This has led to incidents involving merchant vessels and Indian fishermen. The instance of Enrica Lexie is a good example, wherein two Italian marines shot a fisherman from Kerala mistaking him for a pirate. This incident took place a mere 22 nautical miles from India’s territory. Thus, the declaration of waters very near India’s territorial waters as high-risk poses complications for India’s maritime security, as many vessels veer closer towards India’s territorial waters, making it difficult for India to efficiently ensure its maritime security. The increased traffic in the region poses security challenges and also adversely affects fishermen.

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