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Govt to do everything for release of Indian sailors: Krishna

New Delhi: Government on Thursday promised to do "everything possible" for release of the Indian sailors held hostage by Somlian pirates but cautioned against "emotive" response saying it could endanger their lives.

With Opposition members cutting across party lines in Rajya Sabha expressing serious concern over the continuing hostage of the Indian sailors, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said the government cannot afford to let the lives of the sailors held hostage to be in jeopardy.

"There is no use getting worked up and getting emotive.

Let us be very objective in our assessment of the situation.

We will have to be restrained but at the same time we will have to pursue vigorously through back channels…there can not be any time limit," Krishna said during Zero Hour.

He also reminded the members that when the Americans tried to carry out an assault on some of the pirated ships to rescue their sailors held hostage, four of them were killed.

Raising the issue S S Ahuluwalia (BJP) said the deadline given by the Somalian pirates for release of Indian sailors was coming to an end tomorrow and the government has not done anything to release them.

Referring to release of 11 Indian sailors held hostage by the Somalian pirates, Ahluwalia said they were released by the efforts of the Spanish government.

He wondered if Spain could do it, why could India not take a proactive step when its navy and coast guards were so powerful.

A visibly agitated Ahluwalia even demanded sending Indian forces for the rescue the sailors.

With emotions running high, members of Left parties and RJD sought a time frame from the government for the release of the sailors.

Ahluwalia wanted to know whether the government has got in touch with the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) constituted by the UNSC last year for the release of sailors.

The minister said he will get back to the member after getting information on this aspect prompting Ahluwalia to say that the minister was not even aware of such a body.

Noting that the continuance of Indian sailors held hostage by Somalian pirates was a "disturbing and very serious" matter, Krishna said the government realises the seriousness of the evolving crisis and attaches utmost importance to the safety and security of Indian sailors.

He said Indian missions and diplomats are in regular touch with the local governments and owners of hijacked ships.

The minister said the release of 11 Indian sailors from the ship RAF Afrikana happened after negotiations between the pirates and the ship owners, prompting BJP member M Venkaiah Naidu to ask whether the negotiation included ransom.

Krishna replied saying "negotiations contain so many components" and could also include what the BJP member mentioned.

"Government of India will be doing all that is possible to get them released," he said.

When Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) wanted to know about the status of the joint patrolling plan among the concerned countries for release of their sailors, Krishna said though efforts were on to work it out, nothing has happened so far.

"Efforts are on from Indian point of view. I hope we will be able to put up a united front," he added.

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