Washington : The United States has expressed deep regrets over the killing of an Indian fisherman in the deadly US attack on a motorboat in the Persian Gulf and assured India of a thorough and independent probe into the incident.
The assurance was conveyed by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman during a meeting Wednesday with the Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao, according to the Indian embassy.
She conveyed “her personal condolences and deep regrets for those Indian nationals killed and injured off the coast of UAE by a US Navy ship on 16 July.” Sherman also “conveyed that the US Government was investigating the incident in a thorough and independent manner and would keep the Indian Government apprised of full facts of the incident,” the embassy said.
Meanwhile, at the Pentagon spokesman George Little “again, express(ed) regret for the loss of life in this incident,” but discounted reports citing the Dubai police chief that the US Navy did not issue warnings to the Indian fishermen.
“It remains our belief at this stage that warning measures were undertaken before shots were fired in this incident,” he said. “The incident remains under investigation, and we need to await the outcome of that investigation before reaching final conclusions.”
Asked if he had any proof to tell the Indians about it, Little said: “I wouldn’t get into specifics. This is under investigation. But we firmly believe at this point that the USNS Rappahannock did employ a series of warning measures to alert the oncoming vessel.”
Asked if the US defence department was considering compensation for the fishermen as demanded by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, he said: “Really calls for speculation at this time-naturally, we would be pleased to update our Indian counterparts as we learn more through the investigation.”
Little said he didn’t “know the precise time” when this investigation would be over. He also could not say if there any audio or video recordings that would demonstrate the US Navy crew did conduct non-lethal warning measures