Piracy Current Affairs

India, Somali sign agreement on transfer of sentenced persons

India and Somalia have signed an agreement for transfer of sentenced prisoners in each other’s country. The agreement was signed in New Delhi during the ongoing visit of the Somalia’s Foreign Minister to India.

During the visit, both countries discussed entire gamut of bilateral relations, including the issue of piracy and maritime security. They also discussed regional issues pertaining to developments in the Gulf region and India’s neighbourhood.

The agreement opens a new front for collaboration in anti-piracy operation in Eastern Africa as the incidents of piracy originating from Somalia have affected Indian interests in the Indian Ocean region near the Horn of Africa.

Background

Somalia is situated near the Horn of Africa with the Gulf of Aden to its north. It is among the partner countries of India’s Pan African e-Network project. India-Somalia bilateral trade stood at $391.05 million in 2014-15, a more than 51% increase over the figure of $257.27 million in 2013-14.

Diplomatic contacts between India and Somalia have been infrequent, however, Somalia had participated in the 2015 India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi. Somalia plays important role in containing China’s presence in Indian Ocean region. China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti. Somalia shares border with Djibouti on the west.

India also offers Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) training scholarships and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships to Somalia. In recent years, India also has extended development assistance which included mini buses to the war-battered country.

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India becomes co-chair of Working Group on Maritime Situational Awareness under CGPCS

India has become the co-chair of Working Group on Maritime Situational Awareness (WG-MSA) under Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS).

Decision in this regard, was taken through a consensus during the 19th Plenary Session of the CGPCS held in Mahe, Seychelles from 31st May to 3th June 2016.

India was selected as co-chair in recognition of its pro-active role in combating the problem of piracy off the Somalian Coast and in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Seychelles is the current chairman of the CGPCS for the biennium 2016-17.

About Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS)

  • CGPCS is an international governance mechanism established in 2009 to facilitate the discussion and coordination of actions among states and organizations to suppress maritime piracy near Somali.
  • It was established in response to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1851 (2008), later recalled and replaced with UNSC Resolution 1918 (2010).
  • So far more than 60 countries and international organizations have become part of this forum to work collectively for the prevention of piracy off the Somali coast.

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