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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, responding to Bulgarian Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel for thanking the Indian Navy for rescuing seven Bulgarian nationals in a successful anti-piracy operation in the Arabian Sea, has said that it is exactly what friends are for.

In a post on X, Mr Jaishankar wrote, “That’s what friends are for”. Bulgarian Foreign Minister, Mariya Gabriel on Sunday expressed gratitude to the Indian Navy for successfully carrying out a rescue operation to take back control of a hijacked merchant vessel and its 17 crew members including seven Bulgarian nationals in the Arabian Sea.

She thanked the Indian Navy for the support and reaffirmed cooperation to protect the lives of the crew.

On Saturday, the C-17 aircraft of the Indian Air Force executed a precision air-born drop of two boats along with Indian Navy MARCOS in the Arabian Sea in support of ongoing anti-piracy ‘Operation Sankalp’.

The operation was carried out to rescue the crew of the bulk carrier vessel MV Ruen which was hijacked by Somali pirates near the Yemeni island of Socotra recently.

The Indian Navy thwarted the piracy attempt on MV Ruen, which had been under the control of Somalian pirates since last December, by safely evacuating 17 crew members and coercing 35 pirates to surrender.

The Indian Navy informed in a statement that the mission was carried out by INS Kolkata on Saturday.

“INS Kolkata, a mission deployed in the Arabian Sea, through the sustained high tempo of operations, has thwarted the designs of the Somali pirates to hijack ships transiting through the region by intercepting the pirate ship MV Ruen, on March 16. The merchant vessel had been hijacked in December 2023 and was under the control of the Somalian Pirates till now,” the statement read.

Earlier, the navy informed that the Indian warship INS Kolkata successfully cornered and coerced all 35 pirates to surrender, ensuring the safe evacuation of 17 crew members from the pirate vessel without any injury.

In the rescue operation, which lasted for the last 40 hours, INS Kolkata intercepted the under-attack pirate ship, MV Ruen, sailing almost 2,600 km from the shores of the Indian