The Pakistan maritime security agency apprehended 12 Indian fishermen and seized their two boats near the international maritime boundary on Sunday, a Porbandar-based non-government organisation claimed.
The incident comes close on the heels of the Indian Coast Guard intercepting a Pakistani fishing boat off the coast of Gujarat. The boat, which was said to be carrying explosives, was intercepted on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 around 365 km off the Porbandar coast, before it exploded and caught fire and sunk with four crew members onboard.
"The Pakistan maritime security agency apprehended 12 Indian fishermen along with two boats off the Gujarat coast in the Arabian sea," co-ordinator of Porbandar-based NGO 'Sagar Bharati', Jivan Jungi said. He, however, said that the origin of these boats was still unclear.
"After returning to the coast, some of the Porbandar-based fishermen told us that the Pakistani agency captured two boats and took them to Karachi port. We are trying to acquire more details about the abducted fishermen and trying to find out from where these boats headed to the sea," he said.
According to Coast Guard Commander for Gujarat Region (North-West) Kuldip Singh Sheoran, the latest incident is still under investigation.
"We are yet to verify the incident of the two fishing boats being captured by Paksitan marine agency. We are investigating the matter," he said.
Meanwhile, to enhance security cover in Gujarat's coastal region, 173 marine commandos have been deployed at 20 police stations along the state's coastline, after the recent Pakistani boat incident.
"After the incident of Pakistani boats being chased by Coast Guard in Indian waters, we have ordered 173 of our trained marine commandos to take positions at 20 marine police stations situated on state coastline," Deputy Superintendent of Police B J Ninama of the marine police said.
These commandos have been asked to keep a watch on each and every boat going into the sea and returning ashore. Apart from vehicles, these commandos were also given boats to patrol the sea near the shore.
The commandos were also asked to inform the Coast Guard as well as security officials of the Gujarat police in case they find any suspicious boat in the sea, Ninama said.
"Commandos have also been asked to check papers of every boat which leaves the nearby harbour or port, or arrives from the sea. Besides checking merchandise on the boats, we will also verify people on boats by checking their identity proofs, permits and other licenses to make sure that no unauthorised person manages to land here," Ninama said.
Sheoran has also asked his men to stay vigil in the sea. "We have significantly enhanced our presence in the sea after that incident. We have deployed several boats and aircraft to keep a close watch on every movement in the sea," he said.
Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters