“There are close to 140 Private Security Companies operating in the North Indian Ocean, which hire out Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel or PCASP,” said navy chief, Admiral DK Joshi, adding, “It has obvious security implications for us, including infiltration of terrorists.”
The serial commandeering of Indian dhows by pirates in the Arabian Sea around the Gulf of Aden recently, has put the focus on the vulnerability of these vessels to hijack, especially with their flagrant flouting of guidelines, which also facilitates the endangering of other innocent shipping.
The proximity of the country to the Indian island cluster of Lakshadweep makes it important for coastal security. The Maldives can also offer India logistics support and extend the Indian naval footprint and significantly, by offering their facilities, can extend the Indian maritime airspace surveillance capability.
Reports of piracy are suppressed because shipping companies would not like this route to be perceived to be too dangerous as this would drive up their insurance costs and force them to either go around the Cape of Good Hope or cross the Pacific Ocean as well as cause them problems in recruiting crews and shipping companies put their own ships at risk by refusing to be escorted by international naval ships in convoys because of additional costs and delays.
There was utter confusion at the Ministry of Defense with no one willing to take responsibilty for a decision on the situation leaving the Navy exasperated and furious.