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IB sounds alert: Possibility of Pakistani marine commandos infiltrating Gulf of Kutch

Tensions between the two neighbouring countries rose after India abrogated Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu-Kashmir. Islamabad has threatened to close down airspace for India in bid to ratchet up tensions.

Written by Vaibhav Jha | New Delhi |
Updated: August 29, 2019 5:07:57 pm
A file photo of Gujarat fishermen pulling boats away from the seashore. (Express photo: Javed Raja)

In the wake of heightened tension between India and Pakistan, the Adani Ports and Logistics has issued a security advisory to shipping agents of all vessels parked at the Mundra Port in Kutch regarding possible infiltration by Pakistani marine commandos from the coastal borders of Gujarat.

The advisory comes four days after the Border Security Force (BSF) had found two abandoned mini boats at the ‘Harami Nala’ creek area of Kutch, which might have originated from Pakistan. The coastal borders in Gujarat have been on high alert ever since the union government of India scrapped the special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and turned it into a union territory.

In the advisory dated August 28, all stakeholders and shipping agents at the Mundra Port have been asked by the Adani Ports and Logistics to inform their vessels of possible infiltration by marine commandos of Pakistan in Harami Nala creek and to remain vigilant at all times.

“All shipping agents and stakeholders are directed to inform their vessels accordingly and report any suspicious activity to marine control station and port operation centre immediately. Please note that Mundra port is maintaining security level 1. Security measures have also been enhanced on the shore side of the port. All are requested to cooperate with the security accordingly,” read the advisory.

An official of Adani Ports and Logistics spoke to The Indian Express stating, “We received a tip from the Intelligence Bureau regarding a possible infiltration by trained marine commandos of Pakistan, so we have informed all our staff and vessels’ agents to remain vigilant.” The advisory quoted the Indian Coast Guard as having provided the input.

On August 24, the BSF had discovered two mini boats at the Harami Nala which had set off the security agencies on a search operation in the coastal areas of Kutch regarding possible infiltration by Pakistani nationals. However, preliminary investigation by police did not reveal any suspicious activity with the two boats.

The Intelligence Bureau had also sent a tip to the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) regarding infiltration of four terrorists with Afghanistan passport in India to carry out terror attacks.

The alert comes days after the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh said that an “underwater wing” of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is training people to carry out attacks but the Indian Navy is fully prepared to thwart any such attempt.

“We have received an intelligence that an underwater wing of Jaish-e-Mohammed is training people to carry out attacks from water, but we are fully prepared and are keeping close vigil. We would like to assure people that we will thwart any such attempt,”he said while answering a question on the changing tactics of terrorist outfits and the India Navy’s response to it.

Tensions between the two neighbouring countries increased after India abrogated Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu-Kashmir.

Islamabad recently threatened to close down airspace for India again in a bid to ratchet up tensions. The move is likely to put further strain on India-Pakistan relations.

“PM is considering a complete closure of airspace to India, a complete ban on use of Pakistan land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan was also suggested in cabinet meeting, legal formalities for these decisions are under consideration,” Pakistan’s Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry tweeted after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Chaudhry is a close aide of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Modi has started we’ll finish!” he tweeted, referring to the Narendra Modi government’s decision to revoke J&K’s special status.

This comes a day after Prime Minister Modi, during his meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France, categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.

Pakistan had closed its airspace on February 26, after IAF fighter jets struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation to the Pulwama terror attack on February 14.

On Wednesday, India’s Supreme Court the Supreme Court said a five-judge Constitution Bench will hear petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the amendment to Article 370 revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.

The bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer, which issued notice on a clutch of petitions and referred the matter to a Constitution Bench, said it will be heard in the first week of October.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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