Visakhapatnam: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flagged the threat of sea-borne terror and piracy as two key challenges to maritime security even as he pitched for respecting freedom of navigation against the backdrop of South China sea dispute.
In an apparent reference to the audacious 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, Modi said, the threat of sea-borne terror, of which India has been a direct victim, continues to endanger regional and global peace and stability.
He said piracy, too, remains a strong challenge against the backdrop of Somali pirates targeting merchant vessels, including those of India.
Addressing the valedictory function of International Fleet Review, the Prime Minister also made a veiled reference to the South China Sea dispute, saying countries must "respect and ensure freedom of navigation and cooperate not compete".
He said after hosting the 3rd India-Africa Summit and the India-Pacific Island Cooperation, the country would now host the first-ever global maritime summit in April.
Referring to his government's ambitious Make in India initiative, Modi said 37 of the Indian warships participating the Fleet Review were made in India and their numbers will surely rise.
He said the nation's ability to reap economic benefits from the oceans rested on our capacity to respond to the challenges in the maritime domain.
"The threat of natural disasters like tsunami and cyclones is ever present. Man-made problems such as oil spills, climate change continue to risk the stability of the maritime domain," the Prime Minister said.
He said a peaceful and stable maritime environment is critical for regional and global security.
"It is also must to harvest the riches of the oceanic ecosystems," the PM said.