Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that the men on the Pakistani fishing vessel that blew up and sank on Thursday were suspected terrorists as they committed suicide unlike drug smugglers.
"I think they were suspected terrorists as they committed suicide, a normal boat even carrying drugs can surrender. The location was not normal sea route, even the smugglers normally take the busy route so that they can mingle with boats. Why would smugglers keep in touch with Pakistan Maritime authorities?" Daily News & Analysis quoted Parrikar as saying.
Parrikar made the statement clarifying the doubts and questions raised on the Indian Coast Guard's operation against the two boats from Keti Bandar near Karachi heading into the Indian waters towards the coast of Porbandar in Gujarat.
There were reports suggesting that the vessels, which the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) believed to be terror boats, could have been carrying drugs or other illegal goods. The theory that the Pakistani boats had explosives on it and the crew had terror plans against India was questioned.
Parrikar, however, clarified the doubts and said the Indian Coast Guard rightly acted upon the interception they received by the NTRO. The interception had revealed that the men on boat were in frequent touch with Pakistani Army and country's Maritime Security Agency.
"Indian Coast guard has done right job at right time based on intelligence inputs. My interpretation is that Pakistan is trying to divert attention after what happened in Peshawar," Parrikar said.
NTRO had sent wireless intercepts of the electronic chatter, of the two boats spotted in the Indian waters, to the Indian Coast Guard in Gujarat on 31 December. Following this, the Coast Guard launched an operation to chase down the two boats.
However, crew on one of the two boats burnt the vessel after repeated calls from Indian coast guards to stop. The Indian authorities are trying to search the wreckage of the boat that sank into the Arabian Sea along with the crew after being set on fire.
While the search for crew and wreckage of one of the boats in on at Porbandar coast, the other boat is believed to have gone back into Pakistani waters.