Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships are a cause of concern, especially to the Indian shipping industry. He emphasised a need to ensure adequate Indian control over maritime activity for reasons of security.
In his address here at the Shipping Corporation of India's golden jubilee celebrations, the prime minister said instances of pirate attacks in the Arabian Sea and more recently in the Indian Ocean, much beyond the piracy-infested areas of Gulf of Aden, pose a serious threat to the country by putting at risk a large number of Indian seafarers and ships, as also the seaborne trade.
"Our Navy, Coast Guard and the shipping companies are putting up a concerted effort in close co-ordination with other international agencies to deal with this menace. But I suggest more needs to be done in this area to provide safety and security. Any industry can thrive only in an atmosphere of safety and security," he added.
Singh called for collective efforts for the growth of the vital maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports, shipbuilding and ship-repair. "In the context of India's growing international trade and increasing energy demand and dependence on global energy markets, there is an urgent need to further develop our national fleet.
I call upon the Indian shipping companies to pursue their growth plans in the right earnest and in tune with the global economy," the prime minister noted.
Singh said human resource is one of the vital ingredients for successful operation and growth of any industry. With its training initiatives, the SCI has contributed greatly to the growth of India's maritime sector by creating a pool of talent. Indian seafarers have played an important role in India gaining recognition as a maritime country. Today, seafarers from India are highly sought after by shipping companies the world over for their skill and diligence. "The maritime industry should further invest in attracting more talent to this vital sector and also in upgrading the talent available through training and development initiatives," he added.