New Delhi, Nov 15 (ANI): Describing piracy as a priority challenge, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Tuesday said: "We need to build upon existing national, regional and multilateral measures to enhance coordination to combat piracy."
Addressing a Council of Ministers' Meeting of 11th Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), Krishna said: " Piracy increases the direct cost of trade. It adds indirect costs through increased insurance premia and a human cost to many of our nationals involved in the shipping industry."
"We can build functional relationships between our Navies and Coast Guards to enhance the security of our waters. Our port and customs authorities, as well as our shipping firms, need to address issues of transport infrastructure and connectivity that hinder trade,' he added.
Emphasising that the growth of intra-regional trade has been limited by poor connectivity, market complexities and inadequate trade facilitation, Krishna said: " Our intra-regional investment flows are modest, though many of our economies are important destinations for foreign direct investment from outside our region. We need to promote initiatives to rectify this situation."
"We should strengthen connections between our disaster management agencies. India is willing to share its experiences with the Tsunami Warning System for the Indian Ocean," he added.
He further said that over six decades ago, our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru envisioned a grouping of countries bordering the Indian Ocean that could help one another in tacking common challenges.
"This extraordinarily perceptive idea was realized in 1997 with the formation of our Association. We reaffirmed then that the Indian Ocean is an integral part of our collective destiny, and that we need a holistic vision for a cooperative response to current challenges for this region," he added.
Emphasising that the sustainability of our economic development in today's ecologically challenged world requires efficient management of our shared seas, Krishna said: " Conservation and sustainable harvesting are vital for the security of our marine food resources."
"These are both opportunities and challenges for collaboration, which reinforce the cultural and civilizational factors that have historically united our region. Our Association is based on an open regionalism, permitting multiple channels of interaction in areas of regional and sub-regional interest," he added. (ANI)