October 22, 2008 1:34:02 pm
With India rushing its warship to Gulf of Aden after pirates attacked cargo ships carrying its nationals, the US says it is keen to partner with New Delhi to jointly patrol the high seas off the African coast to deter the armed outlaws.
“The Indian ships presence in Gulf of Aden will provide both of us an opportunity to work together (against pirates) and we are looking forward to it,” said US Navy Captain Kenneth J Norton on board USS Ronald Reagan, the world’s largest warship, as it sailed in the Arabian Sea about 130 miles off Goa coast.
Washington’s views on Indian warship patrolling the region comes in the wake of over 35 incidents of piracy attacks on cargo ships in Gulf of Aden in the last three months.
As recently as Monday, a dhow with 13 Indian sailors on board was hijacked by armed pirates and they were rescued by self-styled Somalian coast guard gunmen on Tuesday.
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But there has been no word about 18 Indian sailors, who were taken hostage by Somalian pirates after hijacking Japanese-owned merchant vessel MV Stolt Valor on September 15 this year.
“US and its Coalition ships are regularly deployed in Gulf of Aden and along the African coast to act as a deterrent to the pirates operating there, said Captain Norton, the commanding officer of Ronald Reagan, which is participating in the Indo-US naval exercise Malabar-08.
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