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27 nations join hands to secure Indian Ocean
February 15, 2008 16:58 IST
In a major initiative to secure the maritime zone in the Indian Ocean region from terrorists, India and 26 other countries on Friday decided to set up an institutionalised mechanism for cooperation among their navies.
The mechanism will serve as a platform among the Indian Ocean Rim countries to have regular dialogue and exchange of information for ensuring safety of ships and maritime resources.
"It is an initiative to ensure peace, security and economic propriety in the region," said Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta.
"Under the initiative, we have decided to join hands to thwart any kind of challenges in the region including threats from terrorists," Mehta said at the end of a two-day conclave of Naval chiefs of the Indian Ocean rim countries.
Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said the regional platform would ensure a broad understanding against those who want to spread instability in the region.
"The platform should be against those who want to destabilise and terrorise the region," he said.
Asked about terror threats, Mehta said, "We are conscious of the fact that a fair amount of breeding of terrorists is taking place in the region. In some areas, terrorism is allowed to escalate. Discussion will take place for initiating measures to counter threats of terrorism in the region."
He said the forum would facilitate cooperation at various levels to ensure safety and security of the Indian Ocean region from terrorists, pirates and other challenges.