ASEM members endorse need for maritime security

Gurgaon, Nov.12 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said there is unanimity on the need to provide maritime security among members of the ASEM.

He also said that the members took up the issue regarding countries providing armed protection on ships, which was discussed in connection with the case involving the killing of two fishermen in Kerala by two Italian Marines in February last year.

“There was unanimity on the need to provide maritime security, and in that context the issue also of what to do with initiatives that countries have taken about providing armed protection on ships, and how that’s to be dealt with, in the backdrop of the unfortunate incident in which the Italian Marines got involved,” he said while addressing media after the conclusion of the two-day ASEM meet here today.

“Our view is that we must find a solution that ambiguity of this nature does not affect any future deployment,” he added.

On Feb 15, 2012, the two marines, posted on security duty aboard an Italian-registered oil tanker, Enrica Lexie, mistaking a boat of fishermen for pirates, shot and killed two Indian fishermen, Ajay Binki and Gelastine.

The incident occurred about 20.5 nautical miles off the coast of Kerala.

The Italians have been contesting the jurisdiction of Indian courts in the matter, saying the incident occurred in international waters.

According to reports, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has reportedly questioned four Italian marines who were witness to the killing of the fishermen through video conferencing who appeared in Indian Embassy in Rome. (ANI)


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