Indian coast guard, anti-terrorist squad stop Pakistani fishing boat with drugs, arms

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Indian authorities have apprehended a Pakistani fishing boat carrying arms, ammunition and narcotics off the coast of Gujarat.

In a statement on Monday, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said that a Pakistani fishing boat ‘Al Soheli’ was stopped and searched in a joint operation with the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS).

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Crewed by 10, the boat was reportedly carrying six pistols, 120 rounds of ammunition, and 40 kilograms of narcotic substances worth $36.2 million (INR 3 crore).

Indian Coast Guard pictured with the crew of the Pakistani boat ‘Al Soheli’ that was carrying drugs, arms, and ammunition into Indian waters. (Twitter)
Indian Coast Guard pictured with the crew of the Pakistani boat ‘Al Soheli’ that was carrying drugs, arms, and ammunition into Indian waters. (Twitter)

“On being challenged by the ICG ship, the boat started evasive maneuvering and did not stop even after firing warning shots,” a statement from the maritime security authority said.

The move was enforced by patrol ship ICGS Arinjay which was in the area on December 25 and 26 after receiving information about the Pakistan-origin boat earlier from the Gujarat ATS.

The fishing boat set sail from Karachi and is now being brought to Okha, Gujarat for investigation, the Times of India reported on Monday.

This is reportedly the seventh joint operation by the ICG and Gujarat ATS in the last 18 months.

Over 346 kilograms of heroin worth $233 million (INR 1,930 crore) have been seized and 44 Pakistani and seven Iranian crew have been apprehended in the last 18 months, the statement added.

Such incursions by Pakistani vessels into Indian waters have been reduced greatly following the November 26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 175 and was carried out in 2008 by 10 members of the Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba group over four days.

India has since strengthened its maritime forces and increased cross-agency cooperation internally and internationally to thwart further attempts.

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