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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of External Affairs
11-March-2011 16:16 IST
Statement by Minister of State of External Affairs Preneet Kaur in Rajya Sabha on conduct of anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the Coast of Somalia
The Cabinet Committee on Security met today and considered proposals with regard to conduct of anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the Coast of Somalia.

The Committee approved a series of measures which will be taken by the Government of India to address the legal, administrative and operational aspects of combating piracy. A broad policy framework covering all these aspects was approved. This would involve actions that would be taken in the medium and long term by the Ministries of Shipping, External Affairs and Defence.

The Committee also specifically considered the immediate situation arising out from holding of Indian hostages by pirates. It noted that as of now 53 Indian seafarers remain in captivity on 5 different ships. The Committee expressed its sympathy with the families of the hostages, and decided that the Government would take all appropriate action to safeguard their welfare. It approved the following immediate steps:-

• Intensify diplomatic efforts through consultations with the Governments of Egypt and the UAE where the owners of concerned vessels reside, as well as with the Governments of other nationalities who are also being held as hostages and intensifying diplomatic efforts both at the multilateral level and within the framework of the United Nations.

• Stepping up of contacts with the owners of the vessels concerned.

• Establishing of Inter-ministerial Group under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary. The Group will act as an apex forum at the Government of India level to monitor the early release of Indian ships or cargo or crew. The Group will also consider welfare measures necessitated after the release of hijacked Indian nationals.

• Formulation of suitable standard operating procedures for the Indian Navy and coordination of the Indian Navy’s activities with the Navies of friendly foreign countries in the Gulf of Aden.

YSK/PM