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Pak strikes back as BJP, Cong squabble

Soon after a Pakistani boat self-imploded 365 kms off Porbandar coast, Pakistan Marine Security Agency captured two fishing boats - Jhuelal and Jalaram - with 12 Indian fishermen from International Maritime Boundary Line off Kutch in Arabian Sea on Saturday night. According to sources, the capturing of two Indian boats is seen as a move taken by the Pakistani authorities in retaliation to the tracking and intercepting of a fishing boat from Pakistan off the Gujarat coast on New Year’s eve by the Indian Coast Guard.

According to Manish Lodhari, fishermen association leader from Porbandar, they received a message from fishermen about the abduction of the boats by Pakistan agency but are awaiting confirmation. Fishermen are frequently arrested whenever they mistakenly enter the territorial waters of the two countries between Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh and Gujarat. These fishermen often have to spend years behind the bars in the two countries. Meanwhile, politics erupted on the Pakistani terror boat incident as the BJP on Sunday accused the Congress of touching a “new low” and doing politics over terror. The Congress on Saturday had asked the government to “come clean” on the Pakistani boat issue and explain “which terrorist organisation” was behind the episode that unfolded on the high seas.

Following the accusations, Ministry of Defence has reportedly called for a full review of all intercepted communications which led to the boat being apprehended. According to reports, MoD has also asked the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) for logs and audiotape of intercepted Thuraya satellite-phone communications, on the basis of which it asked the Coast Guard and Navy to intercept the fishing boat.

Meanwhile, in a scathing attack on Congress, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “A new low in Indian politics has been touched and none other than Congress is responsible for this new low. Congress has touched an abysmal low as far as politics is concerned.” He said India celebrated a “happy” new year because the Coast Guard and the intelligence agencies of India could successfully abort a “probable” terrorist attack.
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