New Delhi, Oct.16 : The Indian Government has reportedly taken a decision to deploy a naval warship in the Gulf of Aden to ward off pirate attacks on merchant vessels flying the Indian tricolour.
The government today approved deployment of an Indian Naval warship in the Gulf of Aden to patrol the normal route followed by Indian flagships during passage between Salalah in Oman and Aden in Yemen," a Defence Ministry spokesperson announced in New Delhi.
"The patrolling is commencing immediately," he said. The ship was yet to sail from the Indian shores to Gulf of Aden along the Horn of Africa.
Initially, India would deploy only one of its warships in the region but it could be increased later on a need basis, the spokesperson said.
The government's decision comes close on the heels of Somalian pirates hijacking a Japanese-owned merchant vessel MV Stolt Valor with 18 Indians among the 22 sailors on board on 15th August this year.
The pirate attack on Stolt Valor had triggered a crisis with families of crew members vociferously appealing to the Centre to intervene and obtain the crew's release.
Currently, the 18 Indian crew members are being held hostage at a Somalian port and the shipping company is holding negotiations with the pirates for their release.
"However, the current decision to patrol African waters is not directly related to the Stolt Valor abduction," a Defence ministry official clarified later.