Mumbai: Spurt in incidents of piracy close to Indian shores weighing on his mind, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday stressed the need to ensure adequate control over maritime activity for security reasons.
   
"Any industry can thrive only in an atmosphere of safety and security. Incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships are a cause of concern to all of us and to the shipping industry in particular.”

"Instances of pirate attacks in the Arabian Sea and more recently in the Indian Ocean, much beyond the piracy infested areas of Gulf of Aden, pose a serious threat to us by putting at risk a large number of Indian seafarers and ships, as also our seaborne trade," he said.
   
"Our Navy, Coast Guard and shipping companies are putting up a concerted effort in close coordination with other international agencies to deal with this menace," he said.
    
The Prime Minister was addressing the valedictory function of Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) here.
   
"As our maritime sector, including shipping ports, shipbuilding and ship-repair, is of vital significance to our economy, we should collectively make every effort possible for the growth of this sector," he said.
   
"However, we should also ensure adequate Indian control over our maritime activity, for reasons of maritime security," he said.
   
In the context of India's growing trade and increasing energy demand and dependence on global energy markets, there is an urgent need to further develop our national fleet, he said.
   
The Prime Minister asked the Indian shipping companies to pursue their growth plans in the right earnest and in tune with the global economic environment.

(Agencies)