Adding Muscle

SINGAPORE, Apr.07 (AFP) – India, South Korea and Sri Lanka on Friday joined a regional cooperation pact against marine piracy in Asia, bringing to 11 the number of countries that have signed up, the Singapore government said. The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) is a Japanese initiative launched in Tokyo in November 2004.

Singapore serves as the depository of the agreement and hosts the group’s information sharing center.

Seven of the signatories have fully ratified the agreement: Japan, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar and South Korea, which submitted its ratification papers also on Friday.

The agreement will enter into force 90 days after the 10th country submits its instrument of ratification.

In addition, Brunei and Cambodia have signed the agreement and are in the process of completing their domestic procedures for ratification, the Singapore foreign ministry said in a statement.

Asia’s busy sealanes, particularly the Strait of Malacca, are prone to piracy by armed bands.

Governments in the region have also stepped up measures against potential terrorist attacks on seaports as well as smuggling of weapons of mass de