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Naval force patrolling efforts result into zero piracy in coastal areas

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Mumbai: The Indian Navy has reported zero piracy in 2015 due to dedicated patrolling and led to savings worth over Rs.23,000 crore for the Indian shipping industry, a top naval officer said here on Thursday.

The Indian Navy continues its operations in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea and so far safely escorted more than 3,000 ships through the pirate-infested areas and foiled 46 hijack attempts on the high seas, said Vice Admiral S.P.S. Cheema, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command.

These actions have resulted in the line demarcating High Risk Area being shifted westwards by 780 nautical miles away from the Indian coast (from 78 degrees East Longitude to 65 degrees East) resulting in the huge savings for the Indian maritime industry.

Vice Admiral Cheema was addressing the media on the occasion of Navy Day on Friday, to commemorate the Indian Navy’s paralyzing attack on Karachi harbor on December 4, 1971 which ultimately led to the Indian victory and liberation of Bangladesh.

He pointed out that the Indian economy was on an upswing and grew at 7.4 percent in the last quarter of the current fiscal.

The economy is directly linked to the growth in trade and majority of India’s voluminous trade uses the sea route for imports and exports.

The Middle-East was crucial for India’s crude oil imports and the Indian Navy ensures that the seaborne trade is safe at all times to ensure the country’s economic growth and prosperity, Vice-Admiral Cheema said.

Given India’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean with eight major shipping lanes and presence of a large number of foreign warships, there is a continuous need to monitor more than 100,000 ships which sail through the waters along the Indian coasts every year.

If this trade were to be disrupted for any reason, it would not only be India, but also the world economy that would have to bear the impact,

Besides monitoring the seawaters, the Indian Navy is also geared up to prevent any future 26/11 type of attacks, expanding and modernizing, engaged in international humanitarian services as part of its activities in the region.

The Navy is currently gearing up to host the International Fleet Review 2016 at Visakhapatnam, from February 4-9 with the theme ‘United through Oceans’, including the President’s review of the multi-national fleet on February 6.

While 87 navies worldwide have been invited, more than 50 have already confirmed participation, and the Western Naval Command will be represented by 12 ships including the two aircraft carriers, Vice-Admiral Cheema said.

(Inputs from IANS)

(Picture Courtesy:-entrance-exam.net)

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After a Decade, India Remembers The Terrorist Attack On Mumbai

Businessman Dilip Mehta took counseling for months after he faced the prospect of falling victim to a terrorists bullet at Taj Mahal hotel.

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Mumbai Terror Attack
A man walks past a wall riddled with bullet holes opposite to the Nariman House, one of the targets of the November 26, 2008 attacks, after the renaming ceremony of Nariman House as Nariman Light House in Mumbai, India. VOA

A decade after 10 Islamic terrorists laid a three-day siege to India’s financial capital, Mumbai, and killed 166 people, businessman Dilip Mehta recalls the horror of the nine hours that he was holed up in a banquet hall in a luxury hotel, wondering when the gunmen would storm inside.

“I do feel traumatized when I hear of any kind of terrorist activities in the world,” said Mehta, who was eventually evacuated via a fire exit.

From the mark it left on survivors and the families of the victims to the deep blow it struck to ties between India and Pakistan, the scars of the coordinated attacks that began on November 26th in 2008 still run deep.

26/11 Mumbai Attack
A reporter talks on her phone as smoke is seen coming from Taj Hotel in Mumbai, November 27, 2008, where terrorists were holding hostages during an attack that began the previous day. VOA

Solemn memorial services were held in the city for the victims as India marked the 10th anniversary of the attacks, in which the heavily armed gunmen stormed multiple targets.Mumbai’s police paid homage to more than a dozen officers and commandos killed in the operation against the militants.Two luxury hotels held private services while a Jewish Center, which was also attacked, unveiled a new memorial to all those who died in the assault.

“Our solidarity with the bereaved families.A grateful nation bows to our brave police and security forces who valiantly fought the terrorists during the Mumbai attacks,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.

The foreign ministry said it is a matter of “deep anguish” the victims of the attack who belonged to 15 countries “still await closure with Pakistan showing little sincerity in bringing perpetrators to justice.The planners of 26/11 still roam the streets of Pakistan with impunity.”

New Delhi says the attack was masterminded by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and frequently slammed Islamabad for not taking action against the man who founded the group, Hafiz Saeed. Saeed, who has been designated as a terrorist by the United Nations, has denied involvement and Pakistan says India has not produced enough evidence against him.

Mumbai Terror Attack
FILE – People hold a candlelight vigil for the victims of a terrorist attack, in Mumbai, India, Nov. 29, 2008. The attack took a total of 160 lives. VOA

Announcing a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to arrests or convictions of those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack, the United States also said that it was an affront to the families of the victims that those who planned the attack had not been convicted.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on “all countries, particularly Pakistan to uphold their U.N. Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and its affiliates.”

Nine of the 10 gunmen who mounted the attack were killed, one was captured.He has been convicted and hanged.

According to Harsh Pant at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation, the 2008 Mumbai attacks continue to cast a shadow on India-Pakistan relations.“When you talk of rapproachment with Pakistan, when you talk of talks with Pakistan, the stakeholders are very limited,” he said.”The question comes: why have we failed in bringing those who perpetrated these acts to book?”

Mumbai Terror Attack
Flames engulf the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, on November 27, 2008, VOA

While Mumbai had suffered terror attacks prior to those in 2008, the strikes were the most audacious.The three-day siege put the spotlight on India’s weak coastal security – the 10 terrorists sneaked into the city on a fishing vessel.

Since then, maritime security has been strengthened and coastal police stations have been set up.On the eve of the anniversary, police officials said the city is better prepared to counter terrorist threats.

Also Read: By 2030, Over 98 Mn Indians Will Have Diabetes, Lancet Study Revealed

“I can assure Mumbaikars that the city is safe and police are capable of protecting you from any eventuality,” Mumbai Police Commissioner Subodh Kumar Jaiswal said.

Businessman Dilip Mehta took counseling for months after he faced the prospect of falling victim to a terrorists bullet at Taj Mahal hotel, where for about 60 hours, the gunmen shot dead guests and hotel staff.His life took a 360 degree turn after the attack, but he says he does feel more secure.“Now with whatever precautions and measures which have been taken, I feel quite safe in Bombay,” he said. (VOA)