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Pakistan boat had suspected terror links, says Manohar Parrikar

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday that all “circumstantial evidence” surrounding the Pakistani fishing boat pointed to a terror link and that its occupants were in touch with Pakistan maritime security agencies and the army.

“The most important factor for classifying them as suspected or probable terrorists is that they committed suicide, harakiri. Even a normal boat with drugs would throw them away and surrender. No one will kill himself unless motivated to do so,” Mr. Parrikar said at a function here.

> The Indian Coast Guard had intercepted a suspicious Pakistani boat on December 31 night following Intelligence inputs. The Coast Guard said four people on the boat, finding themselves cornered after unsuccessfully trying to escape, set the vessel on fire and it ultimately sank.

> Read: Pakistan rejects Indian report on explosives boat

“The route taken is not the normal fishing route and the area is not a fishing area. Even smugglers of gold and contraband take a busy route to pass off as a fishing boat,” Mr. Parrikar said.

Also, smugglers do not keep in touch with Pakistani maritime security agencies or their army officers, he said.

Long surveillance

“Intelligence inputs were clear and left no room for speculation by the Coast Guard. They reacted immediately. The boat was under our surveillance for almost 12-14 hours and the Coast Guard intercepted it as soon as possible,” Mr. Parrikar said.

He said the boat was in an isolated location when spotted by surveillance aircraft. “It does not indicate any type of smuggling activity but some other kind of activity,” Mr. Parrikar said, adding, “We are not sure what is that other kind.” Communication intercepts by Intelligence agencies indicate the conversation was about passing on cargo and delivering it and some talk about family members of some of the members. Asked about the presence of a second boat, Mr. Parrikar said it was in international waters.

Asked about the repeated ceasefire violations on the border by Pakistan, Mr. Parrikar said: “It only proves what we have been saying that there is an attempt to push unwanted elements across the border and cover fire happens to facilitate that.”



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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 11:59:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-boatmen-not-smugglers-but-suspected-terrorists-parrikar/article6756272.ece

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