A suspected terror bid was foiled by the Coast Guard on New Year's Eve when officials intercepted a suspicious boat near the Porbandar coast off Guajrat, say reports.
The boat was reportedly carrying four suspected terrorists and had begun its journey from Karachi in Pakistan, according to Times Now.
The channel reported that the persons on the boat were suspected to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists.
The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) was reportedly tracking the boat right after it left Karachi. NTRO later on notified the Coast Guard about the boat, after which it was tracked down using a Dornier aircraft.
An intelligence-based midnight operation was conducted by the Coast Guard ships and aircraft to intercept the suspect fishing boat, approximately 365 km off Porbander in Gujarat, on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 after a hot pursuit.
"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 hot pursuit continued for nearly one hour and the Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat after firing warning shots," the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
The ministry said that four persons were seen on the boat but all of them didn't pay heed to the Coast Guard's warnings to stop and co-operate with the investigations.
"Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in below deck compartment and set the boat on fire, which resulted in an explosion and major fire on the boat," the statement said.
The boat sank on the spot. The Coast Guard was unable to find any survivors or bodies on account of the darkness and bad weather.
"The boat burnt and sank in the same position, in early hours of 1st January. Coast Guard ships and aircraft are continuing operations in area to search for any possible survivor," the ministry said in the statement.
The hot 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, the statement said.
Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in below deck compartment and set the boat on fire, which resulted in an explosion and major fire on the boat, it said.
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 January one.
The Coast Guard and other security agencies are maintaining vigil in coastal areas over the last couple of months due to several inputs on a potential threat from the sea, the ministry said.
CNN-IBN reported that security agencies suspect that the boat was carrying material that was explosive in nature.
This event comes to light on a day when Home Minister Rajnath Singh accused Pakistan of trying to push terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir and giving cover to such attempts by continuous firing along the border. There also have been multiple exchanges of fire between troops along the India-Pakistan border in the last week that have claimed 5 lives.
(With inputs from PTI)
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Updated Date: Jan 02, 2015 17:21:48 IST