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News18 » Videos » News18 Shorts

MV Suez fiasco a PR disaster for India

Jun 20, 2011 08:53 PM IST India India
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New Delhi: It's likely to be three days before the Indian sailors of the MV Suez released last week by Somali pirates after a $2 million ransom was paid come home. But the Suez saga has been a series of mis-steps. India failed to negotiate the sailors' release, failed to protect them once they were free, and failed to bring them home. And it culminated with a row with the Pakistani govt. Why did India get it so wrong? "We have already registered our protest with the government of Pakistan," said Foreign Minister SM Krishna. The protest over and PNS Babur's alleged aggression registered, it’s time to assess India’s own response to the hostage crisis. India failed to organise the ransom from private parties. The Navy and the government were silent for days even as sailors pleaded for help through the media. INS Godavari was despatched only after PNS Babur had begun escorting MV Suez. India allowed a full 24 hours to elapse before rejecting Pakistani allegations of aggression by INS Godavari. The botched up response is despite a naval warship patrolling the Gulf of Aden and a high powered inter-ministerial group created to handle piracy related incidents. Experts say an inquiry must be conducted and responsibility fixed or else the Navy must be given a free hand to respond to crises. "There must be an inquiry. Forget what we told Pakistan. We must know what went wrong and who took late decisions. The Navy must be given a free hand or have someone competent in charge," said Admiral Raja Menon. The Navy sources admit there has been a loss of face but the government insists it did its best. It's a PR disaster that has left the Navy red-faced and showed the Indian government's claims of being sensitive towards its citizens as false. The 39 sailors still being held hostage can only hope lessons are learnt from the Suez blunders.

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