Terrorists, not smugglers, Parrikar clarifies on blown-up Pak boat

news
05 January 2015

Seeking to put to rest all speculation and innuendo over the Pakistani ''terror boat'' that blew up off the Gujarat coast late last week, defence minister Manohar Parrikar today debunked the suggestion that it was a smuggling rather than a terrorist boat.

''I think I would classify them as suspected or possible terrorists as they committed suicide; a normal boat even carrying drugs can surrender,'' Parrikar told reporters.

Pakistan is in denial mode over the whole incident, claiming that no such boat left its shores. Moreover, on Saturday it captured a couple of Indian fishing smacks with a total of 12 crew members in apparent retaliation.

''Why would smugglers stay in touch with Pakistani maritime authorities, army and international contacts? Furthermore, why would they commit suicide?'' Parrikar asked.

Praising the Coast Guard for doing the ''right job at right time based on intelligence inputs'', Parrikar said the boat had been under surveillance for 12 hours and it was intercepted as soon as possible.

Parrikar said since the boat was laden with explosives, it could even have inflicted damage to the Coast Guard ship and copter.

''The location (of the boat) was not normal sea route. The smugglers normally take the busy route so that they can mingle with other boats (and avoid detection),'' the minister said. ''I am not speculating that there were explosives, but their (crew's) activities to my mind don't fit the description of smugglers,'' he added.

The minister revealed that the Coast Guard had spotted another suspicious boat, but that was in international waters.

The Congress Party created some controversy by questioning the government's claims that it was a Pakistan-origin terror boat.

"The government should come clean on it. There is no evidence. How can you say that a terrorist attack was prevented?" Congress leader Ajoy Kumar had said, while demanding a probe into the incident.

Meanwhile, while reacting to reports of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed being spotted on the India-Pakistan border in Jammu & Kashmir, Parrikar said it shows ''an attempt of pushing unwanted elements across the border''.

He added that recent ceasefire violations were also an attempt by Pakistan to divert attention from last month's deadly Taliban attack on an army school in Peshawar.

 





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