New Delhi: As 46 Indians continue to be in
the custody of Somali pirates, an Inter-Ministerial Group
(IMG) set up to tackle the problem will be holding its first
meeting in the next four days to chalk out a strategy to
secure their release and meet the continuing piracy threat.
The Group, constituted under the chairmanship of
Additional Secretary, Shipping, Vijay Chhibber, also includes
Joint Secretaries from Ministries of External Affairs, Home
Affairs, Defence, Information and Broadcasting besides
representatives from Navy and Intelligence Bureau.
The IMG has been formed on the recommendations of the
Committee of Secretaries (CoS) as part of measures to curb
piracy in the wake of increase in such incidents on high seas.
"The IMG, constituted for handling any crisis situation
related to maritime sector is going to meet very soon --
within three to four days," Shipping Secretary K Mohandas
He said the IMG will deliberate on measures to free
Indians in the captivity of the Somali pirates apart from
steps to strengthen security measures on high waters.
In case of very sensitive matters, the IMG will take up
the issue with a Committee for crisis situations, headed by
Cabinet Secretary, he said.
Apart from constituting an IMG, the government is also
contemplating a new law to tackle the menace.
At present, 46 Indians are in the captivity of Somali
pirates after being captured on board four vessels over last
year or so. They include seven aboard Indian freighter Asphalt
Venture, whose other eight hostages were released after
payment of ransom recently.
The ships in captivity of pirates include India-flag
bearer MV Asphalt Venture, MV Iceberg and MV Suez and among