November 22, 2022
Thank you, Mr. President.
At the outset, I would also join others in thanking ASG Martha Pobee, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) Executive Director Ghada Fathy Waly, Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea CommissionAmb. Florentina Adenike, and AU (African Union) Commission Maritime Planning Office Commander Abdullahi Yakubu for their respective briefings.
- The problem of piracy is as old as the history of maritime navigation; however, with the rapid growth in international trade through maritime navigation, the growth of piracy in past two decades has been unprecedented.
- Piracy is not only a threat to the freedom of maritime navigation, but also causes destabilizing effects on global and regional trade and security. The negative humanitarian impact of this threat on seafarers who are the lifeline of maritime shipping can no longer be ignored.The menace of piracy can only be defeated through effective cooperation and implementation of legal frameworks on maritime security at both regional and international levels.
- Maritime security has been one of the key priorities for India in the Security Council. During India’s Presidency of the Security Council of the Security Council last year, our Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Council on maritime security. During the meeting, the Council also adopted a Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2021/15), the first ever Council document on the issue of maritime security.
- The salience of this issue was further highlighted through the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution on piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea in May 2022–a crucial initiative by Ghana and Norway.In this context, we welcome the Secretary-General’s report on this issue that contains many useful recommendations.
- The report notes the reduction of piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, underpinned by several factors. This includes the positive impact of piracy-related convictions in the countries of the region as well as the deterrent effects of increased naval patrols by the Nigerian navy, aided bybetter regional cooperation. However, it is important that we do not lower our guard against piracy in Gulf of Guinea and continue to take robust anti-piracy measures.
- The report notes the growing risk of the terrorist threat spilling over from the central Sahel towards the Gulf of Guinea, as was illustrated by the terrorist attacks against government security forces in Benin and Togo since 2021. We need to continue to look out for links between extremist, terrorist and pirate groups in the Gulf of Guinea, as these can be a lethal nexus and has the potential to reverse the recent anti-piracy gains in Gulf of Guinea.
- The low conviction rates in the piracy cases have remained a cause of concern. The report notes only two convictions for piracy in 2021, especially forthe first time in the West Africa region. While we welcome these convictions, much more needs to be done to check the impunity of pirates.
- The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) remains the main legal framework for addressing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. We encourage the countries of the region to take steps to enact legislation for criminalizing piracy to the full extent as set out in UNCLOS in order to achieve effective suppression of piracy in the region, as also has been referred to in the report.
- The Yaoundé Architecture has played a significant role in enhancing the regional cooperation. However, the zonal, sub-regional and interregional coordination arrangements face several challenges such as lack of predictable and sustainable financing, adequate expertise, equipment and logistical support, as well as timely information sharing. The international community needs to enhance their support to the countries of the region, as well as regional architectures to overcome these bottlenecks.
- We commend the efforts of Ghana for prioritizing the issue during the chairmanship of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). We welcome the recent adoption of the ECOWAS Supplementary Act on the Conditions of Transfer of Persons Suspected of having Committed Acts of Piracy and their Associated Property and/or Evidence.
- India has been engaged with countries in the Gulf of Guinea region on maritime matters, including through deployment of navy patrols as well as building of anti-piracy capacities of the countries in the region. As mentioned in the present report, the Indian Navy has deployed a naval ship in the Gulf of Guinea since 04 September 2022 for a month, contributing to the efforts against piracy/armed robbery as well as towards training and awareness workshops in the region. The IFC-IOR (Information Fusion Centre-IOR) near Delhi is integrated with the YA (Yaoundé architecture), through a third country liaison officer stationed there and contributes effectively to the maritime domain awareness in the area.
- India would continue to support all national, regional and international efforts for strengthening maritime security, including in the Gulf of Guinea, in consultation with the countries of the region.
I thank you.