Govt to exercise restraint on hostages

Govt to exercise restraint on hostages

With the opposition BJP stepping up attacks on the government for the latter’s alleged inaction to rescue the Indian sailors held hostage on MV Suez and other hijacked ships, Krishna told the Rajya Sabha that New Delhi could only keep on making efforts to ensure safe release of the hostages from the captivity of the pirates through “back channels and ship-owners”.

A day after staging a walkout in the Lok Sabha, the BJP raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha too with the party’s veteran MPs like S S Ahluwalia and M Venkaiah Naidu demanding to know what the United Progressive Alliance Government had done to ensure the release of the Indian sailors onboard the ships hijacked by the pirates from Somalia.

The BJP heavyweight and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley accompanied the representatives of the families of the sailors onboard the hijacked ship MV Suez to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. They also met Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.


The MV Suez, owned by Red Sea Navigation Company of Egypt, was hijacked by the pirates in the Gulf of Aden on August 2, 2010. The deadline set by the pirates for payment of US $ 4 million as ransom for the release of the six Indians held hostages onboard the ship ended on Wednesday.

“There is no use getting worked up or getting excited or getting emotive,” Krishna said in the Upper House. Replying Ahluwalia’s query whether India would send its forces to get the hostages released, the External Affairs Minister said that when the Americans had tried to carry out an assault on the pirates, four of the hostages had got killed.

He was apparently referring to the February 18 incident in which US military personnel boarded the hijacked yacht Quest after fierce fighting with the Somali pirates only to find the four hostages among the dead.

“So, let us be very objective in our assessment of the situation. We cannot afford to let the lives of Indian sailors, who are held hostage by the pirates, to be jeopardy. So, we will have to be restrained,” he said.