Wednesday 25 May 2022, 02:38 AM
Occupants of Pakistani boat suspected terrorists: Parrikar
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 1/5/2015 12:00:00 AM

New Delhi : The people of a Pakistani vessel that blew up and sank off the coast of Gujarat were "suspected terrorists" and did not appear to be smugglers, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said Monday, as the incident on the open sea continued to hog headlines amid border tensions between India and Pakistan.

He also confirmed that another boat was also traced but it was in international waters.

"The most important factor, if you ask me, why I will classify them under suspected or probable terrorists is because they have committed suicide... 'Harakiri'. No one is going to be killing himself unless you are motivated enough to do that," Parrikar told reporters on sidelines of an event here.

"A normal boat even carrying some drugs can throw away some drugs and surrender," he said.

Parrikar's remarks came as questions arose in the media on the nature of the "illicit transaction" being carried out by the suspicious vessel in the Arabian Sea.

The Congress, which has asked the BJP-led government to come clean on conflicting reports in the media, Monday said every citizen of the country has the right to question the government.

Parrikar said he would not speculate on the "cargo" of the vessel but "their activities do not fit description of a smuggler".

"There are a lot of speculations... I don't intend to be part of speculations. Except saying one very important aspect that the location is not normal route for the fishing boats... Even the smugglers carrying contraband and gold, whatever.. even drugs, they normally take a route which is busy. Because they can mingle with the other boats and pass off as one of the fishing boats," he said.

The boat was almost stationary at an "isolated location" for more than 12 hours and perhaps longer than a day, he said, noting this "does not indicate any smuggling type of activity but some other kind of activity... we are not sure what is the other kind".

"Secondly smugglers don't keep in touch with a maritime Pakistani agency or a maritime security of Pakistan or their army or international contacts," he said.

He said the Coast Guard just followed the standard operating procedure.

"The Coast Guard could not have done any better because the operating instructions are very clear. It was dark and if it (the boat) was laden with explosives, which appears to be partly at least correct, it could have induced injuries and damage to the Coast Guard," he said.

Asked about the presence of a second boat, the minister said it was in international waters.

According to the defence ministry, the suspicious boat was intercepted by the Coast Guard based on an intelligence input Dec 31, and it was traced in the Arabian Sea, 365 km off Porbandar in Gujarat.

The dramatic incident was a reminder of the manner Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai in 2008.

The vessel, which had set off from near Karachi on New Year's Eve, turned into a ball of fire and sank after its occupants, believed to be four in number, set fire to it early Jan 1.

Parrikar also lauded the Coast Guard personnel for their effort, saying they did the "right job at the right time".

"...It is based on intelligence input and there is no speculative part left to Coast Guard when such issues comes. They reacted immediately, they got air surveillance done on the boat for almost 12 to 14 hours, intercepted it as soon as possible and stopped it after a chase," he said.

Parrikar's comments came a day after the BJP slammed the Congress for seeking a probe into the incident and said the opposition party raising questions in the matter showed it had touched a "new low" in politics.

Congress spokesperson Randip Singh Surjewala Monday hit back at the BJP.

"We request the spokespersons of BJP to stop making public relation events out of issues of national security. It is our right as the opposition to question the conflicting reports in the media," he said.

"Every citizen of this country has the right to question the government, the ruling party cannot brand them as Pakistanis," he said, adding the Congress however commended the "valiant efforts" of the Coast Guard for foiling such an incident.

The incident took place amid tensions between India and Pakistan over ceasefire violations along the international border and Line of Control in Kashmir.

Pakistan has rejected India's claim about the suspicious vessel and said no boat from Karachi had gone to the open sea.

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Occupants of Pakistani boat suspected terrorists: Parrikar

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भारत डिफेंस कवच की नई हिन्दी पत्रिका ‘डिफेंस मॉनिटर’ का ताजा अंक ऊपर दर्शाया गया है। इसके पहले दस पन्ने आप मुफ्त देख सकते हैं। पूरी पत्रिका पढ़ने के लिए कुछ राशि का भुगतान करना होता है। पुराने अंक आप पूरी तरह फ्री पढ़ सकते हैं। पत्रिका के अंकों पर क्लिक करें और देखें। -संपादक

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