Efforts on to release Indian hostages held by Somali pirates: Krishna

March 9th, 2011 - 6:06 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Mar 9 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Wednesday said that efforts are on to release Indian hostages abducted by Somali pirates.

Krishna in a statement in the Lok Sabha said that everything possible is being done to secure the safe release of Indians made hostage by the pirates.

“Their safe and early release is our highest priority … We are doing all that we can. We are in touch with the ship owners. We are depending upon ship owners, as is done in most cases, to negotiate with the pirates,” he added.

He said Somali pirates have made 79 Indians hostage and seven ships are in their custody.

Reiterating government’s commitment to seek safe release of all Indian nationals, Krihna said: “This is an international problem which needs to be tackled resolutely.”

He said he held talks with the Egyptian Ambassador in India for securing the release of eight Indian nationals as the deadline set by the pirates expires on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj asked the government to seek support in dealing with the growing menace of piracy.

Expressing serious concern over the fate of Indian nationals who are hostage to Somali pirates, Swaraj said that it is a serious issue as the incidents of piracy are growing.

“When one US national is kidnapped, the US moves heaven and earth to secure his release …. But the Indian government is not taking seriously the issue of Indian sailors being taken hostage,” she added.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) expressed its dissatisfaction on External Affairs Minister S M Krishna’s statement in Lok Sabha on the efforts to rescue the sailors abducted by Somali Pirates.

Talking to reporters, Parliament party leader Brinda Karat said that Government should take stronger steps to free the sailors.

The pirates had hijacked Egyptian cargo ship MV Suez in the Gulf of Aden on August 2, 2010. Besides the six Indians, the ship’s crew includes four Pakistanis, four Sri Lankans and 11 Egyptians.

According to the Directorate General of Shipping, as many as 215 Indian crew were among those whose ships were hijacked and 136 of them have so far been released. (ANI)

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