India rejects Somali pirates swap offer
New Delhi, Apr 18 (ANI): Minister for Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi today said that the government of India has rejected the swap offer made by Somali pirates in exchange of abducted Indian sailors.
Talking to reporters here, Ravi said that Government will not bargain with pirates for the release of the sailors.
He further said his Ministry will coordinate with the External Affairs and Home Ministies to ensure safe release of the sailors at the earliest.
Somali pirates have posed a fresh challenge to the Indian security establishment by retaining seven Indian crew members even after a sizeable ransom was paid for the release of a hijacked ship, the MV Asphalt Venture, and the 15 member all-Indian crew.
According to reports, a spokesman for the Somali pirates, Hassan Farah , confirmed that the seven Indians were held back because Delhi has apprehended over a 100 Somali pirates
"We decided to keep them because India is holding our colleagues," Farah said.
"We released the other crew members who sailed away from our coast. We will keep these Indians until the India releases our colleagues, " Farah added
A multimillion dollar ransom was paid for the ship Asphalt Venture, whose ownership is located in Mumbai, India.
It wasn't immediately clear how many of the 15 crew members aboard the Asphalt Venture were Indian. The ship was hijacked in late September.
Indian Navy recently caught 16 Somali pirates and foiled a mission of the pirates in March 2011. (ANI)
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