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India for stronger maritime cooperation with friendly nations

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December 14, 2005 18:33 IST

India sees a vast scope for maritime cooperation with friendly nations in intelligence exchange, ocean technology and seabed mining as part of efforts to harness ocean resources and tackle maritime crimes, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Wednesday.

In his address at an Indo-Japan Dialogue on Ocean Security and Maritime Cooperation, the defence minister said Indian Ocean security was paramount to ensuring safe trade via sea.

"There is a need for stronger maritime cooperation to deal with ever-increasing threats to the oceans. An integrated approach covering environment and resource-oriented cooperation in the maritime sector appears unavoidable."

Mukherjee characterised piracy, protection of sea lines of communications, drugs and arms smuggling, terrorism and transportation of weapons of mass destruction by sea as issues of common international concern.

"Hence, a closer security dialogue and strengthening of defence cooperation with friendly countries remains an important objective of our overall defence and foreign policies," he remarked.

The minister identified ocean resource reservoir and ocean technology as areas of enormous economic potential.

Maritime cooperation with friendly countries in seabedmining and intelligence sharing could also help tackle maritime crimes, he said.

Both India and Japan [Images], he added, had a common interest in the maintenance of security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

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