Sunday, June 19, 2011

India, Pakistan accuse each other's Navies of aggression on high seas

NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani humanitarian effort that secured the release of Indians along with Pakistanis from Somalian pirates is fast turning into a war of words between the two governments. Each is accusing the other's Navy of aggression on the high seas while escorting m.v. Suez, which was released earlier this week after 10 months in captivity.
A day after Pakistan officially protested against the aggression by INS Godavari towards PNS Babur, India on Saturday lodged a similar protest with the Pakistan High Commission about its naval vessel. “PNS Babur, by its risky manoeuvres, jeopardised the safety of INS Godavari and its crew.”
Pakistan had accused the Indian vessel of hampering humanitarian operations being carried out by PNS Babur and making “dangerous manoeuvres,” which resulted in the two ships “brushing past” each other.
According to External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash, Pakistan's Naval Adviser in New Delhi was summoned by the Defence Ministry on Friday to register the “serious concerns at PNS Babur's risky manoeuvres.” In Islamabad, Pakistan conveyed a similar protest about INS Godavari around 6.30 p.m. through Deputy High Commissioner Rahul Kulsreshtha and informed the media later in the night.
Both countries cited violation of regulations on navigational safety contained in the ‘International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea' and Article 10 of the ‘Agreement between India-Pakistan on Advance Notice on Military Exercises, Manoeuvres and Troops Movements 1991.'
Earlier in the day, the Indian Navy described reports of aggression by INS Godavari as incorrect. This incident is said to have happened in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday while m.v. Suez was being escorted towards Oman.
On Thursday, the Indian Navy had put out a statement claiming that it had been tasked to escort m.v.Suez that very morning. “On reaching m.v. Suez, INS Godavari made every effort through all available means and channels to communicate with Suez. However, the Master of m.v. Suez did not respond.” After confirming that m.v. Suez was being escorted by other warships deployed in the Gulf of Aden, INS Godavari returned to its task of protecting two other merchant vessels carrying 21 Indians.


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