Of course, if some VIP had been held hostage…

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?

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9 Responses to “Of course, if some VIP had been held hostage…”

  1. Koteshwara Says:

    We are a bunch of lunatics. We grieve and lament when Rajni, has seasonal flu. Shame on us.

  2. Mysore Peshva Says:

    You made sense when you complained of the inaction of India’s armed forces, but then you lost me when you said the Pakistani NGO performed better! That NGO did nothing heroic — it paid a ransom! Are you in favor of paying ransom to the pirates?

    What is your case? — do you want the navy the rescue the hostages or some Indian entity to bribe the pirates? If the latter, then may I respectfully disagree, sir.

  3. Pagan Says:

    Churumuri, as usual, doesn’t give the full story here. Just presents part of the story enough to drive home its point.

    http://frontierindia.net/pakistani-captain-of-mv-suez-fails-to-respond-ins-godavari-pulls-out

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-06-17/india/29669591_1_indian-warship-merchant-vessel-somali-pirates


    Sources said the reason for the “rebuff” could be “competitive politics” since MV Suez, owned by an Egyptian company and captained by a Pakistani national, is now being escorted by Pakistani warship PNS Babar.

    The entire drama over MV Suez, which has six Indians among its 22-strong crew, began on Monday after it was released by Somali pirates following the payment of a $2.1 million ransom.

    Indian crew members and their families on Wednesday accused Indian Navy of not responding to their pleas for help after the merchant vessel was threatened once again by pirates. Pakistan, in contrast, rushed PNS Babar to escort MV Suez.

    The government, however, said its Navy had “actively coordinated” with other foreign navies in the region to ensure “cover” to MV Suez from Tuesday itself. The only Indian warship deployed in the Gulf of Aden, INS Godavari, was at that time busy escorting two other merchant vessels, with 21 Indians on board them, through the Gulf of Aden.

    On Thursday morning, INS Godavari tried to repeatedly raise MV Suez over the “mercantile marine band Channel 16” after closing in to its location but the ship’s captain chose not to respond.

    “After confirming MV Suez was safe and being escorted by other warships, INS Godavari continued with its original task of escorting the two other vessels. The Navy is continuously assessing the situation and monitoring all developments,” said a source.

  4. Enigma Says:

    Come one grown up!….just because you and the media monkeys made this news into an emotional one doesn’t make it a national shame. I don’t know why people fail to see the simple line in this entire saga and get carried away by such junk from media.
    Lets get the facts first:
    1. This ship MV Suez was owned and operated by Egyptian with a pakistani commander
    2. This is a private ship hijacked by pirates, then the ransom has to come from the owner not from the country whose 6 citizens are aboard the ship
    3. India has a doctrine of not negotiating with the hijackers or pay ransom
    4. If India starts paying ransom like this then this will go on and on, and even encourage more hijacking
    5. Indian NGO’s should work to get the funds not the Government of India
    6. India navy works with coalition forces to prevent hijacking, it has prevented many cases of hijacking (they don’t need certificate from you or the media monkeys)
    7. At the time of second attack on MV Suez, Indian warship was escorting two shipping vessels
    8. When duress signal was received, the coalition warship nearby which was Pakistani navy’s Baabar was notified for help and rescue
    9. Because of the Media monkeys constant bombarding of this news in TV and highlighting that indian govt. is not doing anything. The politicians got cold feet and forced indian warship to abandon the ships whom she was escorting and go for the rescue of MV Suez, this inturn led to the duel between indian and pakistani warships in high seas.

    Please report/present facts as it is, don’t put your masala into it and turn it into an emotional drama

  5. twistleton Says:

    one good thing coming out of this: this incident should blow conspiracy theories about Pakistan to bits. At least some of them.

  6. Nastika Says:

    Americans yell that they *will* rescue any fellow American in danger, in any part of the world. Their leaders repeat this often & make it clear to everybody.

    > Why are we so insensitive when it comes to the life of ‘aam aadmi’—and so hyperactive when VIP lives are at stake?

    Its our culture thingy. We need a leader who can change this.

  7. Deepak Says:

    Manmohan & Co. are more concerned about protecting the human and democratic rights of Kasab and Geelani. Where do they have the time to bother about sailors? And where do they have the guts to take on anyone?

  8. twistleton Says:

    Somali piracy thrives on. Thumbing a nose at the combined naval power of the world. :D

    This country’s economic (and political) problems need a radical approach that no nation is capable of offering. The UN hasn’t made much headway either.

    So yes, ransoms are going to be paid for a while. To save lives.

  9. Faldo Says:

    @Enigma and Pagan make a valid point. It is important to understand the ground realities here before making wild accusations. The Indian Navy was working with the coalition forces and as such had to allow them to continue with the rescue work. In fact some reports mentioned that the INS Godavari was sent to reassure the Indian sailors who were on board the merchant vessel. Any one-upmanship could have jeopardized the safety of sailors which was of paramount importance. Had there been any untoward incident, the same media would have argued the other way. Another factor to keep in mind is that Somali pirates have not taken kindly to Indian intervention in the past and there is no guarantee that they would have negotiated.
    To be fair to the Indian Navy and other concerned authorities, they have responded fairly quickly in recent times whenever there have been international situations threatening lives of India citizens. Libya is a case in point. Much of the effectiveness in international hostage crisis depends on the amount of control they have over the ground situation and availability of channels of communication.

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