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'That's what friends are for': S Jaishankar after Bulgaria lauds Navy's rescue op

Author: Ajmal Abba
Publication: India Today
Date: March 17, 2024
URL:   https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/external-affairs-minister-s-jaishankar-mariya-gabriel-bulgaria-minister-ship-hijacked-2516117-2024-03-17

"That’s what friends are for," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said as he acknowledged the gratitude expressed by his Bulgarian counterpart for India's role in rescuing citizens from a hijacked vessel.

In Short

• Bulgarian Minister expresses gratitude for citizen's rescue from hijacked ship

• S Jaishankar responds, 'That's what friends are for'

• Indian Navy rescued 17, including 7 Bulgarian crew, from hijacked ship

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday responded to his Bulgarian counterpart's gratitude towards the Indian Navy for rescuing citizens from a hijacked vessel by saying, "That's what friends are for."

The Indian Navy, on Saturday, announced the successful rescue of 17 crew members of the cargo ship MV Ruen, which had been hijacked by pirates 1,400 nautical miles from the Indian coast. Among the rescued individuals, seven were Bulgarian nationals.

Mariya Gabriel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote on X, “I express my gratitude to the Indian navy for the successful operation to rescue the hijacked vessel Ruen & its crew members, including 7 BG [Bulgarian] nationals. Thank you for support and great effort. We continue to work together to protect lives of the crew (sic).”

Sharing this, Minister Jaishanakr wrote, “That’s what friends are for”.

As per the Navy's report, they managed to compel up to 35 pirates aboard the merchant ship to surrender.

The Navy utilises its P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, frontline ships INS Kolkata and INS Subhadra, along with a high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle for the mission. Elite MARCOS commandos were air-dropped for the operation via C-17 aircraft.

The rescue operation was executed successfully without any injuries.

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