India’s fear of armouries
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How anti-piracy ships are a threat to Indian security
Seaman Guard Ohio straying into Indian territorial waters off Kanyakumari coast on October 12, 2013 has more to do with heightened concerns about security threat to India than mere maritime breach. Even at the peak of piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea, India had been wary about permitting armed guards aboard merchant ships and preferred its own commandos. It was only in August 2010, the government finally relented.
Considering the sensitivity of the southern region dotted with nuclear and other installations, including ISRO’s Sriharikota satellite launching station, the security concerns are hardly misplaced, point out experts. The US anti-piracy vessel, a suspected floating armoury providing maritime security against piracy threats, had apparently run out of fuel and sought the help of a TN fishing vessel. Later, 31 assault rifles and 5,000 rounds of ammunition were seized from the ship. Several security agencies descended on Tuticorin port, where the vessel was towed and anchored for further investigations.
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