NEWDELHI: With the menace of piracy posing a threat to global maritime trade, India, China and Japan, the three giants of the East, are planning to coordinate their anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
As an international task force under a United Nations flag is still to materialise, the three major Navies undertaking independent patrols in the region have decided to chalk out a more effective mechanism to beat the sea bandits.
“The international efforts to counter piracy are being coordinated under the framework of SHADE (Shared Awareness and Deconfliction). Since all three countries were conducting independent patrols it was decided to share more information,” officials said. Under the mechanism that came into force on January 1, a channel for better communication has been set up especially via email.
“There are secured servers through which the emails about the timings of the escorted convoys are shared with the other two navies. This ensures that at least one convoy of ships is being escorted safely through the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor,” the officials added. China has deployed two Naval warships and India and Japan one each. The coordination is an interesting development as India and China; and China and Japan are jostling for space and sphere of influence with each other. While India has decided to step up its naval interaction with Japan and is even close to holding its first naval exercise with that country, the tension between Indian and Chinese Navies surfaced in 2011. India is already a member of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), an international cooperation mechanism among the states, regional and international organisations for combating piracy off Somalia coast and which informs United Nations Security Council (UNSC) of the progress of its activities on a regular basis. Navy is also cooperating with other Navies in countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea through SHADE.
According to International Maritime Bureau there is a slight drop in the total number of piracy incidents and armed robbery worldwide - compared to 445 incidents in 2010, 439 piracy incidents have been recorded.