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Indian fisherman killed by US warship; Govt. plans action

Tuesday July 17, 2012 05:59:54 PM, IANS

New Delhi: India said Tuesday it will initiate appropriate action in the killing of its fisherman by personnel on board a US naval vessel off Dubai, even as Washington conveyed its condolences over the death and ordered a probe.

India is ascertaining facts into the shooting by personnel onboard the USNS Rappahannock, a fuel re-supply ship, on a small motor vessel with the Indians near Jebel Ali port Monday evening, an external affairs ministry spokesperson said here.

The incident also left three other Indians injured.

"We will stay in regular touch with US and UAE authorities to ascertain full facts and take appropriate further action in the matter," the spokesperson said.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of life of the Indian fisherman and the injuries sustained by the others. Our thoughts are with their families," the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, US ambassador to India Nancy Powell telephoned Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai Tuesday morning to convey her "regret" for the loss of life and assured that the US government would conduct full investigation into the shooting.

In a statement, the US embassy in New Delhi conveyed its "condolences to the families of the crew of the small motor vessel which came under fire from the USNS Rappahannock on July 16 after the vessel disregarded non lethal warnings and rapidly approached the US ship.

It also said that the incident is being probed.

The Indian embassy in Washington has been in touch with the US government since Monday, the spokesperson said.

The Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi too is working with local authorities to carry out "full investigation" into the circumstances leading to this "unfortunate and tragic" incident, he said.

India has also asked its acting consul general in Dubai to provide all necessary assistance. Jebel Ali, in Dubai, is the biggest port between Europe and Singapore, and US and western naval ships regularly anhor there for picking up supplies.

The US personnel opened fire Monday evening on a fishing boat as the latter "ignored the warnings and came too close", Xinhua quoted sources as saying.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted that the Indian embassy in the US is in touch with US agencies "regarding the incident in Gulf and is assured of full investigation into tragic incident".

He also tweeted that India's acting consul general in Dubai has rushed to Jebel Ali port "to provide necessary assistance to Indian nationals involved in Gulf incident" and that India's ambassador in Abu Dhabi has requested the UAE authorities to probe the incident.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also probing the incident. Tariq Ahmed Al Haidan, the assistant to the UAE foreign minister for political affairs, said: "The concerned UAE authorities are investigating the shooting incident."

India is already prosecuting two Italian marines in a Kochi court for killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in the Arabian Sea in February.







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