Back channel talks on with Somalian pirates: Krishna
The government will do everything possible for the release of Indians held hostage by Somalian pirates, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on Thursday while advising restraint and emphasising the need to pursue back channel negotiations.
Addressing the concern of Rajya Sabha members, Krishna said an 'emotive' response may be dangerous to the lives of the hostages.
"There is no use getting worked up and getting emotive. Let us be very objective in our assessment of the situation," Krishna said after BJP member S.S. Ahluwalia raised the issue during zero hour. Ahluwalia was joined by other opposition members from various parties.
"The incident is disturbing and serious. New Delhi attaches utmost importance to the safety and security of the Indian sailors," Krishna said.
"We will have to be restrained but at the same time we will have to pursue vigorously through back channels, there cannot be any time limit."
Eleven Indian sailors and 10 other crewmembers released by Somali pirates, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had said on Twitter on Wednesday. Their ship, RAK Africana, was hijacked in April last year. But 53 Indian sailors on board other hijacked ships are still being held hostage, she said.
Krishna said negotiations are on at several levels and Indian diplomats in Cairo and Dubai are in touch with the private ship owners.
The minister also said the ship owners are engaged in negotiations with pirates and the Director General of Shipping, who is the nodal authority of movements of the ships, is also making efforts to get the sailors released.
Replying to a specific query by Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the minister said efforts are on to set up joint patrolling by the countries affected by sea piracy.