New Delhi: The Central government is considering ‘military intervention’ as part of the efforts to rescue hostages held captive by Somali pirates.

Indicating that the government intends to take tough measures to deal with pirates, the Minister of State for Defence, MM Pallam Raju, has said all steps will be taken to free the hostages.

"As government we are conscious about the safety of the hostages.  We have to take some strong measures, to make sure that these incidents are not repeated," he said while talking to media persons during a programme of Indian Chambers of Commerce (ICC) on 'Self Reliance in Defence and Security Markets through Innovation and Indigenisation'.

"Along with safeguarding the hostages, there is a need for effective solution to combat pirates,” added Raju.

He also underlined the need to work on a long term solution in containing piracy and making the sea lanes of communication safer.

The pirates, who were holding the crew hostage since September last year, released 8 of the 15 Indian crew of the merchant vessel Asphalt venture on Friday after ship owners paid an undisclosed ransom.

But they refused to free seven others, reportedly seeking to use them to obtain release of over 120 of their comrades held in India.

Thereafter, Indian Navy had diverted a Talwar-class warship off Somalia coast to keep a close eye on the situation

On the issue, former additional secretary of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and defence expert B Raman said, “If all the options get failed, then our priority would be to free the hostages with the help of military operation with minimum damage.”

Along with it, India will have to take policy decisions on the availability of options to deal with such situations in future.

JPN/Bureau