Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission
At the request of the Italian Government, the HR/VP has directed the EEAS to intensify contacts with Indian counterparts to draw their attention to the complexity of the case. Whilst acknowledging that the matter is now in front of the Indian jurisdiction, both the EEAS Headquarters and the EU Delegation in Delhi have discussed the various elements with the competent Indian authorities and the need to find a satisfactory solution as soon as possible.
The issue of armed personnel on board merchant vessels is the object of consultation in international fora, in particular within the IMO and the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. The EU and India have agreed to intensify contacts in this regard and to vigorously pursue review of the current practices in order to prevent such incidents from happening again.
Consultations are currently ongoing between the Italian and Indian Governments as well as with with all interested parties. The HR/VP therefore hopes that the matter will be resolved soon.