Despite their long-standing rivalry and recent tension over Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, India and China on Saturday came together to rescue a merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden after the vessel was attacked by pirates.
Indian and Chinese Navy carried both responded to a distress call by a merchant ship and rescued it from the clutches of pirates.
OS 35, a bulk carrier, was hijacked by Pirates in Gulf of Aden and the Indian Navy deployed two warships after getting a distress call from the hijacked ship.
"Bulk carrier OS35 (Flag Tuvalu) hijacked by Pirates in Gulf of Aden. INS Mumbai & Tarkash in area diverted to render assistance," Indian Navy said in a statement.
Indian Navy was first to respond to the distress call sent out by the merchant ship.
"A distress call was received from a foreign merchant vessel MV OS 35 (Tuvalu registered vessel), which was attacked and boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Aden late night on 08 April. Indian Navy ships Mumbai, Tarkash, Trishul and Aditya proceeding on deployment to the Mediterranean and passing through the Gulf of Aden, responded to the call and rapidly closed the merchant vessel by the early hours of 09 April," the Indian Navy said.
MV OS 35, a 21,000-tonne cargo ship registered in Tuvalu, was sailing between Kelang in Malaysia and the Port of Aden.
The Navy soon diverted the INS Mumbai, a guided missile destroyer, and INS Tarkash, a Russian-built guided missile frigate to the rescue of the cargo ship.
The Chinese Navy responded to the alert and came to the help of the ship while the Indian Navy provided air cover.
The PLA deployed 18 of its personnel to sanitise the ship, a senior navy official said here.
"The Indian warships established contact with the Captain of the merchant vessel, who along with the crew had locked themselves in a strong room on board (citadel), as per standard operating procedure. An Indian Navy helicopter undertook aerial reconnaissance of the merchant vessel at night, and at sunrise, to sanitize the upper decks of the merchant ship and ascertain the location of pirates, if still on board," it said.
The Navy said, "Emboldened by Indian Navy's helicopter cover, and on receiving the 'all clear signal' that no pirates were visible on the upper decks, some crew members gradually emerged from the strong room and carried out a search of the ship and ascertained that the pirates had fled the ship at night."
"Subsequently, in a show of international maritime cooperation against piracy, a boarding party from the nearby Chinese Navy ship went on board the merchant ship, while the Indian Naval helicopter provided air cover for the operation. It has been established that all 19 Filipino crew members are safe. The Captain of the merchant vessel profusely thanked the Indian Naval ships for their response and for providing air cover," it added.
Indian Navy has maintained an anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden since 2008. It has been cooperating with China and Japan to tackle piracy since 2011.