Foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai on Wednesday said necessary steps were being taken to ensure early release of the two Italians kidnapped by Maoists in Odisha and that the state government has set up a Crisis Management Group (CMG) to deal with the situation.
"We are in touch with the state government authorities external affairs minister SM Krishna has spoken to the chief minister and requested him to make all efforts for the safe release of the two Italian nationals," foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters in New Delhi.
He said Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has already made an offer of negotiations with the captors apart from making an appeal for the release of the two hostages.
Mathai said the ministry has also been informed that the state government has set up a CMG to deal with the situation. "We are making all necessary efforts to ensure the safe release of the two Italians," the foreign secretary said.
Paolo Bosusco, a 54-year-old tourist guide, and Claudio Colangelo, a 61-year-old tourist from Rome, were abducted on Wednesday last while trekking in the tribal-dominated Kandhamal district, in the first case of foreigners being kidnapped by Left wing extremists.
Mathai also noted that Patnaik has informed that there was a general advisory for everyone not to go in that area.
The Maoists holding the Italians hostage have issued a list of 13 demands which include a ban on tourists visiting tribal areas, end of the government's anti-rebel operations and release of jailed Maoist leaders.