India leads fight against Somali pirates
An Indian warship sank a Somali pirate 'mother ship.' At least 91 ships have been hijacked this year off the coast of Somalia.
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An Indian warship came under attack on Wednesday from a suspected pirate "mother ship," but managed to destroy the pirate ship, sending three speedboats packed with pirates fleeing for safety.
Meanwhile, the INS Tabar, a Russian-made, high-tech Indian warship, managed to thwart the attempted hijacking of an Indian cargo ship off the coast of Somalia.
As the global community copes with the mounting pirate threat, India has taken a leading role in the fight. With nearly $100 billion of cargo passing through the pirate-laden Gulf of Aden each month, India cannot afford to let the threat go unchecked. It also puts the emerging Indian Navy front and center on the world stage.
"This was a commendable action against the Somali pirates," says Uday Bhaskar, an Indian defense expert. "The pirates have become audacious lately, venturing out into deep waters to attack foreign ships. This action by the Indian Navy will send out a strong message that they cannot get away with this."
Hijackings off the coast of Somalia accounted for a third of global piracy incidents this year, reports the International Maritime Board. Since January, at least 91 ships have been hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, a 1 million-square-mile waterway between Somalia and Yemen.
Presently, pirates are holding as many as 17 captured vessels with more than 300 crew members, including the Saudi supertanker, the Sirius Star, and the Ukrainian vessel carrying at least 30 Russian-designed T-72 tanks.
While warships from eight different countries, including India, have deployed to the Gulf of Aden to combat piracy, the issue is particularly important for India.
The nation of 1.1 billion people provides one-sixth of the world's maritime workers and every month it sends 30 Indian-owned vessels carrying oil and other goods valued at $100 billion through the Gulf of Aden.
Indian shipping firms say they are losing $450,000 a month on cost overruns and delays due to piracy.
"India cannot wait to take action until the Somali pirates hit the coast of Bombay [Mumbai]," says Mr. Bhaskar. "They must be quarantined in their own waters before they cause more damage."