Navy ready to take on Somalian pirates, awaiting governments nod

October 8th, 2008 - 3:54 pm ICT by ANI  

By Praful Kumar Singh

New Delhi, Oct 8 (ANI): Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Wednesday said the Indian Navy is ready to take on the Somalian pirates who have kidnapped 18 Indian sailors, but is awaiting the Ministry of Defences decision on the issue.

This is a policy decision which is being worked out by the Defence Ministry. As soon modalities of sharing time with other navies is worked out, we are ready to move in, said Admiral Mehta when asked if the Navy was ready to patrol the areas or send naval ships to rescue the Indian hostages and combat piracy.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the Air Force Day parade-cum- investiture ceremony at Indian Air Force Station, Hindon.

The government has been criticized for not taking any action to save the 18 Indian sailors 25 days after their abduction.

The Government, at present, is not in favour of undertaking military action to rescue the sailors, as India does not have an agreement of cooperation with Somalia. This means that Indian ships cannot enter the territorial waters of Somalia without prior permission from Somalia for any rescue action.

Earlier, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said that serious attempts were being made to end the hijack.

Antony also said that the Gulf of Aden region on the tip of the Indian Ocean region from a piracy threat point of view.

He said even the presence of powerful navies of the US, France, Canada and UK could not deter the pirates from hijacking ships for ransom.

Somalia is one of the several littoral States in the Indian Ocean rim region. The Indian Navy has, in the past, sought permission from the Government to patrol the region to prevent possible acts of terrorism and piracy on the seas.

The hijacked 18 Indian sailors are still onboard the Hong Kong flagged and Japanese owned chemical tanker, Stolt Valor. Somalian pirates captured he ship on September 15. (ANI)

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