Nov 14, 2011 (LBO) – Co-operation among countries with interests in the Indian Ocean is essential to effectively fight Somali piracy against merchant ships which could threaten trade if unchecked, a Sri Lanka defence official said. “It is our belief that the lasting solution to threats of this nature cannot be undertaken by individual nations in isolation, but only through greater international cooperation,” declared Gotabaya Rajapaksa, secretary to Sri Lanka’s defence ministry.
Steps taken by ship owners against hijackings of merchant vessels have been seen to be largely ineffective, he told the Galle Dialogueâ€ Maritime Conference which opened Monday in the southern port town of Galle.
And interventions made by individual nations in providing greater protection for merchant vessels have not been uniform, he said.
Military officers and academics from 19 countries are taking part in the forum, which was initiated in 2010 by Sri Lanka to help foster cooperation between nations interested in the security of the Indian Ocean region.
“In the present era, the increasing sophistication of criminal networks and non-state actors makes it difficult for individual nations to withstand the threats posed by them if the