NEW DELHI :
The Indian Coast Guard has taken into its custody a Pakistani fishing vessel that entered Indian waters illegally and detained six people on board, a statement from the Indian defence ministry said on Tuesday. The vessel also contained suspected narcotics, the statement said.
The vessel’s movements were under watch from Sunday, when the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) received intelligence of a suspicious vessel likely to be engaged in drug trafficking in an area off the India-Pakistan International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) off the coast of Gujarat, the statement said. Similar intelligence warnings were also received from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence on Monday.
The tip offs resulted in the ICG directing its vessel the Arinjay to patrol the area near the IMBL. Two additional Interceptor Boats were also pressed into service from Jakhau and Okha to provide back up support, the statement said. Besides this, an ICG Dornier indigenous maritime surveillance aircraft from Porbandar was also tasked with locating the suspect vessel.
“During the search, one fishing boat was observed to be suspicious and Coast Guard ships in area shadowed the suspect vessel during the dark hours of 20 May 2019 night," the defence ministry statement said.
When the suspect vessel crossed into Indian waters on 21 May, it was intercepted by the ICG ship Arinjay, the statement said.
“Initial search of the fishing boat by Indian Coast Guard boarding party revealed 194 packets of suspected narcotics substance. The vessel is being escorted to Jakhau harbour for detailed investigation and rummaging," the statement said adding that in a similar operation in March, ICG ship Rajratan seized about 100 kilograms of heroin from a suspected Pakistani dhow off the coast of Gujarat. Nine Iranian crew members were also detained, the statement said.
Since the 2008 Mumbai attack, when 10 Pakistani terrorists set sail from Karachi and targeted India’s financial capital, India has strengthened its coastal security system with a network of radars set up along coastal areas as well as in neighbouring countries.