New Delhi, Jan 2: Four persons in a boat from Pakistan blew themselves just when they were about to be intercepted by the Coast Guards. The incident occurred in the wee hours of January 1.
As per the statement from the Ministry of Defence the Indian Coast Guard intercepted a suspicious Pakistani fishing boat, laden with explosives, in the Arabian Sea in the early hours of January 1.
Although warning shots were fired by the coast guards the boat did not stop. Just when they were about to be intercepted the four persons on the boat blew themselves up. [26/11 like terror bid foiled?]
Here are the latest and exclusive updates:10:30 pm: Was Pakistan vessel on a suicide mission?
Was this boat on a mission to blow up an Indian warship? Some of the intercepts picked up by the NTRO which was shared with the Indian Coastal Guards indicate that the vessel was on its way to execute a sinister plan. Laden with explosives the intelligence agencies felt that that the vessel wanted to blow up an Indian warship.
The possibility of the vessel coming in to drop off arms and also conduct a reconnaissance is also being verified by the agencies.
10:12 pm: Handlers were updated all the time
The four men was in constant touch with their handlers in Pakistan. This helped the NTRO keep a track on their conversations and it has been revealed that from 9 am to 11 PM the four men were giving updates to their handlers.
9:25 pm: Dornier found no change in vessels course
When the National Technical Research Organisation picked up the first intercept they were aware that something fishy is going on in the Indian waters.
This intercept was immediately passed on Indian Coast Guard which deployed the Dornier plane to track the vessel.The first time that the Dornier was pressed into action was at 11 AM. The Dornier managed to locate the vessel and reported that it was on course.
The Dornier was deployed once again at 1 PM and then 5.30 PM and it found that the vessel was making a steady advent into Indian waters.
9:45 pm: Parrikar congratulates coast guards
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar congratulated coast guards for timely actions.
I congratulate coast guards for timely action of intercepting a boat carrying suspected terror groups with surgical precision.
I congratulate coast guards for timely action of intercepting a boat carrying suspected terror groups with surgical precision.— Manohar Parrikar (@manoharparrikar) January 2, 2015
9:15 pm: Boat turned light off after seeing coast guard
The boat of terror from Pakistan had turned off its lights on seeing the coast guard. The coast guard had managed to reach in time and had all the agencies not coordinated there was a good chance of the vessel getting away.
In the year 1993 a similar incident had taken place where arms and ammunition were dropped off in the Porbandar port. The same was used for the Bombay serial blasts.
9:07 pm: Confident of piecing together evidence despite boat being destroyed
The agencies are confident of piecing together evidence and bringing out the real reason as to what the boat was exactly doing on Indian waters. While search operations continue, the agencies say that despite the boat being destroyed they can still piece together the evidence and bring out the correct picture.
Currently operations are on to find the debris and any other evidence.
9:00 pm: Red corner alert was issued by Gujarat police
Gujarat police had on Dec 13, 2014 issued a red corner notice against Yunush alias Lota who was primarily responsible for ensuring the safe landing of arms and explosives at Porbandar.
He was also an accused in the arms landing case in 1993 which were used for the serial blasts in Bombay.
8:45 pm: Alert levels in all ports raised to very high
The alert levels in all ports across India has been raised to very high.
All ports across the country are vulnerable to attacks and activity has also been seen in the coast line down South as well.
The ISI had established a module in Sri Lanka specifically to target from the waters down South.
8:20 pm: Pakistan in denial mode
Pakistan as usual is in denial mode about the incident. The media in Pakistan says that India has jumped the gun to call the vessel as a boat of terror.
Indian intelligence agencies point out that no boat with a sinister or suspicious intention can get out of Pakistan without the blessings of the establishment.
8.00 pm: Multiple aspects
There are several angles that are being looked into the incident that took place on the coast. Was it an attempt to carry out a terror strike or just a reconnaissance and dump the arms in India?
The coast guard and the intelligence says that they wanted to engage in an illegal transaction in India and hence had come into Indian waters. The route is also notorious for smuggling arms and drugs too.
7.45 pm: Men on boat had lot to hide
Investigations being conducted into the Pakistan terror boat incident suggests that the four men clearly had something to hide and they were given specific instructions to destroy all possible evidence in case they are intercepted.
Despite the warnings directing them to subject themselves for investigation, they decided to give the slip. During the last minutes of the operations the four hid under the deck and set the boat on fire. It was the explosives on the boat which may have caused it to explode.
7.30 pm: 2 crucial intercepts saved the day
Intelligence sharing and dedication by the coast guard are the main reasons for the boat being intercepted. There were alerts since November, 2014 following which the vigil was high.
On December 31 there were two intercepts. The first intercept was picked up when there was chatter in Karachi about a boat sailing into Indian waters. This intercept was picked up at 8 am.
The second intercept picked up at 11.30 am suggested that the boat had begun its advent. The coast guard was on watch since then and finally they managed to spot the boat.
7.00 pm: "View all Pak vessels as jihadi threats", Indian Navy was told
The coast guard was instructed that "no Pakistan vessel should be treated with any niceties. Every Pakistan vessel would be viewed as a jihadi threat."
The instruction was sent out to the Indian Navy following a stern message from Admiral Robin Dhawan. He had said that Pakistan warships and vessels posed a security threat.
The message to the Indian Navy was clear and the complete zero tolerance attitude is what helped thwart a possible attack.
6.30 pm: Boat was 10 kms in Indian waters
The boat of terror had come 10 kilometres into the Indian waters. It is confirmed that it had come from Karachi as the intercepts of the phone calls tracked suggested that the four persons were in talks with their handlers in Karachi.
The coast guard gave the four persons a chance to surrender. The boat was found idle in Indian waters without any lights.
When the coast guard instructed them to turn on the lights, the boat began to move away. The chase began and lasted for an hour.
6.00 pm: Chatter points to deliberate blow up
The constant chatter between the four persons on the boat and their handlers suggests that there was costly material on the boat. There were also instructions given to the four persons to destroy all evidence and also blow up the boat in the event of them being intercepted.
The chatter picked up also suggests that the boat did not blow up accidentally. Instead it was a deliberate attempt.
Sources tell OneIndia that there was an attempt made to save the boat and return to Pakistan. Hence they kept the chase on for nearly an hour and when they were cornered as a last resort they blew the boat up.
5.00 pm: Pak boat members were on reconnaissance mission
The four persons who blew themselves up on the Pakistan boat were on a possible reconnaissance mission, Intelligence Bureau sources say.
The four Paksitanis who were on the boat intercepted by the Coast Guard were also trying to drop off arms and this indicates that they were planning a terror strike in the days to come, IB officials also say.
Coast have been on alert since November, 2014
The first concrete alert sounded by the agencies was in November 2014. The alert specified that Pakistani terrorists were planning on carrying out an attack at the Kolkata port.
It was also stated that small boats would be used to carry out an attack on Indian ports. Following this alert security in all ports was enhanced.
Another alert in November, 2014
A second alert that came out in November was pertaining to the Pakistan's naval wing helping out members of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba stage a maritime attack on India.
It was said that several members of the Lashkar were being trained by former officials of the Pakistan navy.
The alert stated that Pakistan was planning on carrying out another 26/11 type attack from the sea.
Statement by the Ministry of Defence
An intelligence based midnight operation was conducted on the intervening night of Dec 31 and yesterdayby the Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft to intercept a suspect fishing boat in Arabian Sea near Indo-Pak maritime boundary, approximately 365 km from Porbander.
As per the intelligence inputs received on 31st December, a fishing boat from KetiBunder near Karachi was planning some illicit transaction in Arabian Sea.
Boat located by air search
Coast Guard Dornier aircraft undertook sea - air coordinated search and located the suspect fishing boat. Thereafter, the Coast Guard ship on patrol in area was diverted and intercepted the unlit boat at about midnight of 31st December in position 365 km West-South West of Porbandar.
The Coast Guard ship warned the fishing boat to stop for further investigation of the crew and cargo; however, the boat increased speed and tried to escape away from the Indian side of maritime boundary. The pursuit continued for nearly one hour and the Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat after firing warning shots.
Four persons were seen on the boat who disregarded all warnings by the Coast Guard ship to stop and cooperate with investigation. Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in below deck compartment and set the boat on fire, which resulted in explosion and major fire on the boat.
Due to darkness, bad weather and strong winds, the boat and persons on board could not be saved or recovered. The boat burnt and sank in the same position, in early hours of 1st January.
Search operations on
Coast Guard ships and aircraft are continuing operations in area to search for any possible survivor. Coast Guard and other security agencies are maintaining high vigil in maritime and coastal areas since last couple of months due to several inputs on threat from the sea.