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Thailand asks India to explain

Thailand has sought a clarification from the Indian Navy on its rules of engagement in sinking an alleged pirate ship last week off the coast of Somalia after evidence has emerged that the ship was a Thai vessel.

delhi Updated: Nov 27, 2008 02:59 IST

Thailand has sought a clarification from the Indian Navy on its rules of engagement in sinking an alleged pirate ship last week off the coast of Somalia after evidence has emerged that the ship was a Thai vessel, officials said on Wednesday.

The navy, however, maintained its warship INS Tabar acted against a “pirate” vessel and was “convinced” of it.

The Thai foreign ministry issued a note verbale to the Indian embassy in Bangkok seeking “clarifications” on the November 18 incident. It was issued after Thai firm Sirichai Fisheries said the ship belonged to it and not to pirates. The International Maritime Bureau confirmed the fact.

The Thai ministry said it was convinced the vessel was the Ekawat Nava 5 as it lost contact with its owner on November 18 in the Gulf of Aden and one of the crew who survived the attack provided details of the incident.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, condoling the death of the sailors, defended the action. “It must be kept in mind that the vessel was under the command of pirates and as per international law and practice, if pirates don’t surrender and if the ship or vessel is sunk, it (sinking the ship) is perfectly within international laws,” he said.