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Jaishankar to move Anti-Maritime Piracy in Rajya Sabha today

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will move the Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha today.

Earlier on Monday, the Lok Sabha passed the bill that seeks to provide an effective legal instrument to combat piracy not only in territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but also on the high seas.

The Bill defines piracy as any illegal act of violence, detention, or destruction against a ship, aircraft, person or property, for private purposes, by the crew or passengers of a private ship or aircraft.

Speaking in Lok Sabha during the discussion on the Bill, S Jaishankar said “The official amendment has provided punishment for life. Earlier, there was a provision for death. Now, the provision for death has been amended as per government amendment to punishment to death or with imprisonment for life, if such a person is committing the act of piracy and causes death or an attempt thereof.””The concern that there will be a mandatory death sentence is no longer relevant in view of the government amendment which actually provides for death or life imprisonment depending on the nature of the circumstances,” added the Minister.

The Lok Sabha took up the Bill for consideration on December 7.

Notably, the Bill will empower Indian authorities to deal with piracy on the high seas beyond the exclusive economic zone which is 200 nautical miles from the country’s coastline.

Jaishankar had earlier informed the Lok Sabha that most of the recommendations of the standing committee have been incorporated in the bill. He said India does not have a specific law or legal provision in the IPC or the CrPC on piracy.

The Minister had said India’s security and economic well-being is inextricably linked to the sea and maritime security is a prerequisite with more than 90 per cent of the country’s trade with the world taking place through sea routes and more than 80 per cent of hydrocarbon requirements being seaborne. (ANI)