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Commandos to protect merchant vessels

Concerned over rising instances of piracy off the Somali coast in the Gulf of Aden, India is readying an initial 100-man team to protect its merchant vessels in the area. This is the first time armed personnel will be deployed aboard cargo ships.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will take on the responsibility of securing the merchant vessels, under a proposal mooted by the ministry of shipping and, as a pilot project, will train 100 of its personnel for the purpose, a government source said. 'CISF will train 100 of its special commandos who will man Indian merchant ships and protect them against pirate attacks at sea,' the source said. 'The modalities are being worked out. The training is likely to be conducted in coordination with the Indian Navy's marine commandos (MARICOS),' the source, who wished not to be identified said. The CISF personnel will also be equipped with special weapons as their standard issue, 5.56mm rifles and pistols, will not be adequate for the specialised task. Citing security concerns, the source declined to give details.

The move comes in the wake of heightened pirate attacks on merchant ships off the Somali coast.
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