Even as the Indian defence establishment evaluates the interception of a mysterious fishing boat by the Coast guard which blew up off the coast of Gujarat, Pakistani authorities have taken into custody two Indian fishing boats with 12 fishermen off the coast of Gujarat.
The two ships - named Jhuelal and Jalaram - were reportedly taken into custody by Pakistan's Marine Security Agency and a Times of India report quoted the head of a fishermen's association based in Porbandar as saying that they had received a message about the boats being abducted by the Pakistani authorities but had still to receive confirmation.
"The Pakistan Maritime Security Agency apprehended 12 Indian fishermen along with two boats off the Gujarat coast in the Arabian sea this afternoon," co-ordinator of Porbandar- based NGO 'Sagar Bharati', Jivan Jungi said on Sunday.
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 the 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 the 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 Pakistan marine agency. We are investigating the matter," he said.
Pakistan maritime security forces frequently arrest Indian fishermen and seize their boats for fishing in its territorial waters. The situation is similar to that with Sri Lanka where Indian fishermen are often held for straying into the island nation's waters for fishing.
In a gesture of goodwill in May, Pakistan had freed 151 Indian fishermen ahead of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit to India to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony.
However, ties between the two nations have deteriorated since then with diplomatic talks being called off and Indian and Pakistani forces intermittently exchanging fire along the Kashmir border. Civilian casualties have also been reported in the exchange of fire last week.
The Pakistan Defence Minister has also been talking of retaliation for killing its soldiers and said on 3 January that the country's army will now “communicate in the language" that India understands.
It isn't clear whether the two Indian fishing vessels being taken into custody has anything to do with the Coast Guard action or the heightened tensions along the border, but until more details are received it may be premature to read too much into it.
with PTI inputs
Updated Date: Jan 05, 2015 10:27:08 IST