Despite the strain in India-China ties, the navies of the two nations engaged in a rare joint operation in the high seas Sunday to rescue a merchant ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
The Tuvalu-flagged bulk carrier OS 35, was travelling from Kelang in Malaysia to the Yemeni port city of Aden on Saturday when it came under attack. The 19-strong Filipino crew had locked themselves in a strong room on board, as per standard operating procedure for responding to a piracy incident.
When questioned concerning the declaration of the navy Navy representative in New Delhi known his twitter, " party being carried by Indian Navy Chetak Helicopter along with PLA Navy ships to MV OS35 in anti-piracy operations @SpokespersonMoD".
After an Indian navy helicopter flew over on Sunday morning, crew members emerged and "ascertained that the pirates had fled the ship at night".
China has edited out India's role in rescuing a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, claiming full credit for delivering the ship to safety.
The Al Kauser was the third vessel seized by pirates in less than a month off the coast of Somalia, with experts warning that ships have lowered their guard in the five years since the height of the piracy crisis.
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Somali pirates began staging attacks on ships in 2005, disrupting major worldwide shipping routes and costing the global economy billions of dollars. We are ready to reinforce our friends so that Galmudug forces do not rescue the nine crew of the Indian ship.
A local mayor initially said the pirates only abducted one crew member, but the state's vice-president later said all 11 crew had been taken away by the pirates.
However, Hua, without detailing what cooperation she referred to, said, "We always remain positive towards worldwide cooperation in combating pirates". A helicopter conducted surveillance of the ship before 16 navy special forces soldiers were sent aboard to rescue the sailors.
Mumbai, Tarkash, Trishul and Aditya were in the region as a part of an overseas deployment.
The development comes at a time when India and China are engaged in a major war of words in the wake of the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
The navy also said that that all the 19 crew members were under their protection.
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