Political Talks

India and Malaysia are intensifying diplomatic efforts to step up action to stem threats of piracy, a serious menace which is threatening both nations.

Both economies, which rely heavily on global shipping for the trade and shipment of energy and raw materials, have seen to be vulnerable to pirates in volatile international waters.

The topic surfaced when Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made a courtesy call on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence in Delhi on Thursday.

“He (Manmohan) hopes both countries can continue working in controlling piracy in international waters. Piracy is becoming serious,” Muhyiddin told the Malaysian media on Friday.

At least 53 Indian seafarers are still in captivity in the Gulf of Aden and off the Coast of Somalia, while efforts are being made to rescue them.

Malaysia faced a similar wrath last January when Somalian pirates tried to hijack a chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden. Malaysian navy commandoes mounted a daring operation to free the ship and detained seven pirates, while the 23 crew on board were rescued.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) estimates 53 ships were hijacked by pirates worldwide last year, taking hostage 1,181 crew members, with 49 cases occuring in Somalia’s coast.

“We discussed exchange of information, patrolling of international waters and on working with maritime agencies.

“I also expressed our intention on this, no government can resolve this issue on their own, we need to have cooperation,” said Muhyiddin.

He also held talks with Indian Foreign Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna on Friday.

Old trading partners, India and Malaysia, also discussed ways to support each other’s candidature at international organisations such as the International Law Commission and External Auditor of World Health Organisation (WHO).

Manmohan has also invited Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to attend the 20th India-Asean Commemorative Summit slated to be held in Delhi next year.

Muhyiddin is on a five-day visit to three Indian cities. He left for Chennai, after completing his tour of Mumbai and Delhi on Friday.

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