The coastal state of Goa, in the western part of India, has sounded an alert to all ships and casinos operating off the state's coast after an intelligence agency warned about a possible terror attack from the sea.
The authorities have issued an alert as the same sea routes were used during the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. On November 26, 2008, 10 terrorists had come ashore at two locations in Mumbai's Colaba on inflatable speedboats. Scores of people were killed in the terror strike that spanned for three days and came to be known as the as the 26/11 attack.
The alert was issued by the state's ports minister Jayesh Salgaonkar Friday. Salgaonkar added that the alert is not specific to Goa, PTI reported.
"It is also for Mumbai and Gujarat coast," he added.
Terrorists might come on board a fishing boat
Salgaonkar said the warning concerns all offshore casinos, water sports operators, and barges. The intelligence input was from the Indian Coast Guard and warned about the possible arrival of terrorists to the western coast on board a fishing trawler.
"A fishing trawler from India which was seized by Pakistan has been released and there is intelligence input that on its way back, it may carry terrorists," the minister said.
The captain of ports, James Braganza, also echoed the same alert. "Have received intelligence input from District Coast Guard that anti-national elements have boarded an apprehended Indian fishing boat in Karachi and (are) likely to land on Indian coast and attack vital installations," Braganza told the news agency.
Security instructions given to cruises and boats
Goa's tourism department and all the water sports operators, offshore casinos and cruise vessels and barges are now to remain on alert.
In a letter sent to the owners and managers of the ships and casinos, the ministry has asked them to increase the security of the vessels and report any sighting or untoward movement to concerned authorities.
The letter was also sent to Goa's chief secretary Dharmendra Sharma.
Why is Goa a likely target?
The terrorists are likely to strike Goa as it is one of most sought after tourist destination in India.
Goa sees a footfall of over 75 lakh tourists every year of which about 8 lakh are from abroad, especially, Russia and the UK. In 2017, over 77 lakh people had visited Goa of which 8 lakh were international tourists.
Targeting a place like Goa, which is a choice of destination for foreigners as well, will get the terrorists international headlines.