Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony said last week that maritime piracy was a major threat to the region and that India would increase the fight against these attacks. In an address to the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting, he stressed the need for increased regional cooperation.

The meeting was attended by representatives from 18 nations, including Japan, China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia.

In the fight against piracy, Indian merchant vessels  soon will have armed security forces deployed onboard and equipped with specialized long-range weapons.  About 100 of the Indian navy’s special forces squad will be deployed for this purpose by the end of the year. The squads will travel aboard vessels in the Indian Ocean region up to the tip of Somalia, one of the most piracy-stricken regions.