NEW DELHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony Thursday described the killing of two Indian fishermen by an Italian cargo ship crew as "very serious" and said the law would take its own course against the offenders.
"This is very serious. At the same time, it is an unfortunate incident," Antony told reporters on the sidelines of a defence event here to present the Republic Day best marching contingent awards.
He said Kerala Police and the Indian Coast Guard were investigating the shooting incident and also meeting the victims' relatives.
"I tell you, the law will take its own course," he said.
The defence minister said India would maintain "strict vigil" in the seas, both against piracy and against such incidents from recurring.
Armed security personnel on board the Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie Wednesday shot dead two Indian fishermen -- one each from Kerala and Tamil Nadu -- in the Arabian Sea off Kerala.
Indian Coast Guard directed the Italian vessel to anchor at Kochi harbour for further investigations and the ship complied with the direction.
The external affairs ministry summoned the Italian envoy and voiced its concern over the incident. The Italian embassy has claimed that the ship crew had fired at the fishing boat in self-defence.