“Need to evolve consensus among nations for legal framework to combat terrorism and sea piracy through sea routes”
“Global conference on 26/11/2011 significant to combat the 26/11-type terrorist attacks from seaside on Mumbai” – Narendra Modi
Read the complete speech
Saturday: Gujarat Chief Minister Nar endra Modi today called for evolving a strategic consensus and agreement among different nations for a common legal and judicial framework to combat the growing menace of terrorism and piracy through sea routes.
Inaugurating an international conference on ‘ Global Maritime Security & Anti-Piracy’ at Gandhinagar, he stressed on the need to ensure no terrorist attack along the seacoast in a country like India with a long coastline. He s aid that maritime trade had been linked to development for centuries and now tourism. He called for t aking effective steps also to check hazardous cargo posing threat to coastal environment.
Mr. Modi s aid that Gujarat with a coastline of 1,600-km too, had a long history of mari time geography and trade. It has become a Gateway to India’s foreign trade with Europe, Africa, Middle East and South Asia in the 21st Century, the Gujarat ports alone handling 35 per cent of India’s total seaborne trade. Gujarat is the first state to encourage ports development in the private sector. It has two LNG Terminals.
He said that the conference being held on 26/11/2011 assumed special significance in the context of 26/11 terrorist attack from the seaside on Mumbai. He wished the conference would deliberate and arrive at important decisions to create awareness and evolve strategic means to check transnational violence and ensure maritime security. He expressed concern at certain terrorist outfits abusing navigation communication technology, making dents into maritime security, throwing new challenges to the security forces and pushing the world to destructive mentality. There is need for co-ordination and evolving consensus between diplomatic and military forces.
Mr. Modi said the trade through sea routes is set for further increase, besides increased offshore oil and gas exploration and fishery activity falling on important sea routes.
Talking about the steps taken in the state, he s aid, Gujarat Government has set up radar-based vessel traffic management system on the major sea routes, 12 modern coastal police stations, 31 high-mechanized boats and 600 maritime commandos. Formation of Gujarat Maritime Police Academy is on the anvil.
Others who spoke on the occasion included Seychelles Supreme Court Mr. Justice Dancan Gaswagha, Den mark’s Anti-Piracy Group Chairman-Ambassador for Somalia Coast, Indian Council of World Affairs Director-General Sudhir Deware, Secretary-General of British International Mari time Organization, UNO Legal Consul. Delegates from 30 countries are attending the two-day conference organized for the first time in the state by Gujarat National Law Society. Gujarat Government’s Additional Chief-Secretary (Ports-Transport) B.K. Sinha and GNLU Director Bimal Patel spoke on the significance of the international conference being held in Gujarat
Speech of Mr. Narendra Modi
Chief Minister, Gujarat
at the Global Maritime Security and Anti-Piracy Conference
26 November, 2011, 09.30 Hrs.
at Hotel Cambay, Gandhinagar
Mr Justice Gaswaga, Supreme Court of Seychelles,
Ambassador Mr Thomas Winkler,
distinguished representatives of various countries, and international organizations,
Excellencies, speakers, delegates, ladies and gentlemen!
It gives me immense pleasure to be here at this forum. On behalf of the people of the State, I welcome you all to Gujarat. This conference is very appropriately placed in Gujarat, both in view of State’s maritime Geography and maritime History. You may have noted that Gujarat, situated on the western coast of India, is a principal Maritime State of the country. It is blessed with the longest coastline of India which is 1600 km long. It is the nearest maritime gateway from India to the Middle East, Europe and Africa. At the same time, Gujarat has a long maritime history. Our people crossed the seven seas centuries ago in search of Global opportunities. We have the remains of our centuries-old ports on our coastline. In recent years again, we have started pursuing Port-led Development with comprehensive policies and well defined strategies. I, therefore, compliment GNLU for organizing this conference here. I am really impressed with the galaxy of experts and resource persons who are going to deliberate during this conference. I congratulate you all for making use of this occasion to find ways for a long standing problem in Human History.
Friends! sea-based travel and trading system is one of the oldest modes of exchange in the Human civilization. Even today, it continues to be the most economical form of travel and transport. That is the reason that all nations want greater sea based access to resources and markets. All this is becoming even better through the help of modern technology. At the same time, the vast size and largely unregulated nature of the waterways have made the maritime environment an attractive theatre for trans-national violence. Both piracy and sea-borne terrorism have become more common in last few decades. This has further gone up due to global proliferation of small arms. All this has added to the maritime vulnerabilities.
Recently, the menace of terrorism has added particularly to the problem. Several terrorist groups have developed significant capability to conduct attacks at sea, under the sea and more recently from the sea. These terrorist groups have kept pace with modern navigation and communication technologies. They have developed innovative ways to challenge the security and maritime forces. Some analysts also fear that they may soon exploit the freight trading system to trigger a global economic crisis. They may also use the container supply chain to transport weapons of mass destruction.
The rise and decline of piracy is linked, among other factors, to the development of political structures on land. There is a nexus between organized piracy, criminal networks and governance on land. Thus, though maritime supply chain is the most economical, at the same time, it is quite vulnerable. Securing safe supply chains therefore presents an enormous challenge for the globalized world. States have invested significant political, diplomatic and military resources to ensure this safety. In addition to piracy and terrorism, Climate change and Global warming are also expected to have a huge impact as they can alter the national boundaries. With the rise in sea levels, coastlines may shift or submerge. This, in turn, could lead to various claims relating to maritime boundaries.
The success in exploring the immense maritime potential, will depend upon national commitment and responses. However, all this cannot happen to an optimal extent without international commitment and unanimity for safety and security. For this purpose, a sound international legal framework and a comprehensive policy regime are essential. The legal framework must balance the needs, concerns and interests of all stakeholder countries whether coastal or landlocked. We also need to enhance inter-agency consultations and have a broader vision to protect everyone’s interests.
India has a central position in the Indian Ocean system. It has an extensive range of interests in the coastal and the marine activities in the Asia-Pacific. They include smooth and freer navigation, protection of strategic and security interests and free mobility of its fishing boats and naval ships. India is also producing million of tons of crude from its sea bound oil fields. India’s current strategy is to build self-reliance in offshore exploration. India is one of the pioneer investors with France, Japan and Russia. It has been allotted a mine site in the central Indian Ocean to carry out seabed exploration activities for recovery of polymetalic nodules.
Friends, currently about 95% of India’s foreign trade (in volume) and 70% (in value) is carried through sea routes. Billions of rupees worth of infrastructure has been created to cater to this industry in India. The State of Gujarat has been the leader in this sector. We already carry almost 35% of India’s sea cargo. In addition to a National Port, Gujarat has the first two world-class private ports in the country. We created India’s first chemical terminal and also the first LNG terminal at Dahej. We have also started the first double stack container train at Pipavav. However, we are always keen to take further advantage of our maritime location. Therefore, we have planned integrated development of coastal areas including new ports, and the required road and rail links. We have taken lead in developing several forms of port infrastructure and services, including in the private sector. Our Port Policy statement spells out an explicit strategy of port-led development.
Friends! the legal framework is an important issue. However, in my view, the real answer to maritime safety involves three more aspects. The first is people’s development; the second is their skills and the third is technology. We have to work on the people first. We have to enhance the economic wellbeing of the coastal population. We have to ensure port led development of the coastal regions of the world. This is necessary, if the oceans of the world are to be made the gateways for welfare of the global community. I will give you some examples of what we have done in Gujarat. We have encouraged integrated coastal development particularly of the Coastal communities. We have launched an ambitious programme for all round development of our coastal belts (Sagar Khedu Yojna). Along with this, we are setting up new port cities in coastal locations. Investments in world class rail-road-pipeline infrastructure linking the coastline have helped Gujarat’s ports dominate India’s maritime scenario. But the development of the communities in the coastal regions is the key to the peace and prosperity of Gujarat’s port based transactions.
Friends, capacity building of the relevant people is another key to security. To strengthen its security apparatus along the coastline, Gujarat government has decided to create a marine commando unit and recruit 600 personnel for it. In addition to 10 existing coastal police stations, we have proposed additional 12 coastal police stations. 31 mechanized 12-tonne boats have also been sanctioned. We are also thinking to establish Maritime Police Academy in Gujarat. The academy will provide a coastal safety force from the current pool of police officers. It will also educate fishermen in identifying threats in their localities. The State Government has initiated coordination with Coast Guard and Indian Navy for this purpose.
On the technology front, we have to take advantage of the present day technologies. We in Gujarat are quite committed on this front. A significant step has been the setting up of the state- of-the-art Vessel Traffic and Management System (VTMS) in the Gulf of Khambat. The radar based system will track movement of each vessel on the high seas along Gujarat’s coasts. This will not only ensure safe navigation of hazardous cargo, but also help in detecting any untoward activity or intrusions in Gujarat waters. The system was operationalized in the Gulf of Khambat in August 2010. Similar system is under implementation at the Gulf of Kutch. To increase security at ports, ISPS code is being implemented at Gujarat ports. Our Government is keen to ensure that the latest measures and technologies are implemented at its ports to make Gujarat’s waters safe and welcoming.
I hope this Seminar will be very useful for bringing out the issues of policy and practice on piracy and coastal security. I wish all success to this event. I expect to hear valuable take-away points for improving coastal security in our State, Country and of course, globally.
I wish you a pleasant stay in Gujarat and this beautiful city of Gandhinagar.