New Delhi : To curb, contain and repress the threats emerging from Piracy in territorial waters, high seas and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), the Lok Sabha passed the anti-piracy Bill in the Indian Parliament on Monday. Numerous amendments moved by the Opposition members were negated, and the Bill was successfully passed.
As Per the Bill, Piracy is defined as an act of violence or detention by the crew or passengers of a private vessel or private aircraft on high seas, directed against another ship or aircraft and people or property on board.
The External Affairs Minister of India, Subramaniam Jaishankar, stated that the official amendment had changed the mode of punishment. Instead of capital execution, life imprisonment will be carried out against the guilty or offender.
However, Section 3 of The Bill states that if a pirate causes death or makes an attempt to cause death, he will be granted the death penalty. Many members of the house have opposed this law.
Taking part, organising, aiding, directing others, supporting and committing acts related to Piracy and other relevant crimes will enable fourteen years of imprisonment.
The Indian Penal Code is not valid for foreigners in international waters. Previously, pirates who were captured were punished according to the IPC. An offence committed by a foreigner outside Indian territorial waters cannot be under the jurisdiction of the IPC.
After the Bill is implemented, it will enforce the United Nations Convention on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), which India ratified in 1955.
India’s Security and economic well-being are intricately linked to the sea, and maritime Security is a prerequisite as more than ninety per cent of Indian trade occurs through sea routes. Many of its hydrocarbon resources are seaborne.
The Bill was created in 2019 but still needed to be passed.
The Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa are places where Piracy has been rampant. It has been observed that piracy and pirate operations are shifting towards the east and south, which increases their proximity to India’s west coast. Several non-state actors and entities are present in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The absence of dedicated domestic legislation on Piracy has also denied effective prosecution of pirates apprehended by the Indian Navy or Coast Guard in the past.
Apart from Piracy, Indian maritime Security is affected by various asymmetric threats such as IUU (Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing), Maritime Terrorism, Organised Crime (trafficking-human, arms, narcotics), smuggling and gun running.