October 14, 2008Africadefence policyForeign Affairsmaritime securitynavySecuritySomaliaUPA

We will negotiate but we won’t

Is the government confused on handling the hostage crisis in Somalia or is it just confused reporting?

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

The pirates holding the crew of MV Stolt Valor have apparently issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the owners of the ship.

Under pressure, Indian Government was forced to react and Anand Sharma, MoS, External Affairs has said that India is being helped by neighbouring powers and international agencies were working with India to free sailors.

Earlier, the Defence Minister had categorically ruled out an offensive in the high seas saying that the Indian government was banking on negotiations to resolve the crisis. The statement had prompted angry families to ask if authorities were even considering ransom as a final option.

Government had also said that the government views Somali pirates as terrorists and as a policy will not negotiate with them. However, the government had assured that they will do everything to save the lives of the Indian citizens. [TOI]Little did one know that the government’s much touted (and flouted) no negotiations” policy would end up this way. It won’t send the Navy, and will rely on negotiations, but at the same time, it won’t negotiate with hostage takers because that is the policy. That means that the government won’t actually do anything, other than rely on commercial negotiations, neighbouring powers and international agencies.

But it’ll still send peacekeepers to the Congo…in the service of an ideal. The policy on overseas military deployments could certainly do with some rationalisation.

Let’s hope the above report is inaccurate. Because such a mix of apathy, pusillanimity and cravenness is well and truly unbearable. [A friend mentions seeing reports of the dispatch of a Navy ship. But it is unlikely that the ships can get there in 48 hours]

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