E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: When our sailors were caught by Somalian pirates for over 10 months, their families ran from Pillai to post in New Delhi to get our government to act.
They met the prime minister, the UPA chairperson and the defence minister and god knows who else. Their efforts came to nought; no help was forthcoming from the high and mighty, and the biggest navy in the region.
Of what use is the strength of our defence forces apart from the ‘show of strength’ during the Republic Day parade?
Why was our government pussyfooting on saving our sailors caught in deep sea, not by an enemy’s naval force but by a bunch of pirates? What was the so-called opposition doing in playing its rightful role?
Why didn’t the wailings of the family and friends of the sailors capture the attention of the nation, including dare we say ours, till the rescue took place?
In contrast, our arch rival Pakistan showed far better understanding of the problem and was instrumental in securing the release of the kidnapped sailors.
Ansar Burney Trust, an NGO from Pakistan, arranged $2.1 million to rescue the hostages. India, it appears, did not pay the promised $500,000.
The owners were blind to the woes of the crew. None of the famed “trusts” of our corporate bigwigs voluntarily came to the help of the crew in collecting the ransom.
Even after the hostages had been freed, when MV Suez again came under attack from the pirates, PNS Babur intervened and thwarted the attack.
Which raises simple questions:
Why were sailors left high and dry and left to fend for themselves by the government, trusts, civil society and corporates even though we are supposed to be a mighty naval force in this region—a burgeoning superpower, an Asian tiger?
Why are we so insensitive when it comes to the life of ‘aam aadmi’—and so hyperactive when VIP lives are at stake?