Indian Navy and Coast Guard vessels captured a pirate mother ship, complete with buccaneers and hostages, after a firefight around a 100 nautical miles off Kavaratti in Lakshadweep, in the early hours of Sunday.
“It (Suez Canal) is a really significant issue. We as military men and anybody worth their salt should be talking about it. It is a serious issue. I can see doomsday scenarios,” Admiral Stanhope, who is on a five-day visit to India, told a group of Indian journalists here.
President Barack Obama has placed the cape of a world power on India and held out the promise of global leadership, complete with matching veto.
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.
Agenda check: The US Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Gary Roughead is to arrive in New Delhi on Sunday.
A squadron of four ships is on an extensive tour of ports in the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The ships will also conduct major exercises with Russia, the UK and France.
While the Indian Navy has every right to arrest pirates anywhere on the high seas, the problem of what to do with them is one that many countries have been struggling with since the upsurge in piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
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.