New Delhi claims all four people, allegedly of Pakistani origin, onboard the vessel were killed in the explosion.
The crew of an alleged Pakistani fishing boat blew up and sank their vessel after trying to evade capture at the hands of the India Navy in a high-speed chase at sea, officials said Friday.
All four people onboard the vessel from near Karachi are believed to have been killed in the dramatic episode in the Arabian Sea on New Year’s Eve, according to India’s defense ministry.
Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft tried to intercept the boat near the maritime border with Pakistan, around 365 kilometers from the coastal state of Gujarat, following an intelligence tip-off. “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,” a defense ministry statement added.
Although the boat did eventually stop after warning shots were fired, the four-man crew then hid themselves below deck before setting the boat on fire which triggered a large explosion.
“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 Jan. 1,” said the statement.
Although the defense ministry would only say that the crew was planning “some illicit transaction,” it also stated that the boat was carrying explosives.
The incident has evoked memories of the 2008 Mumbai attacks when Pakistani-origin militants managed to sneak into India’s financial capital by sea and then began a 60-hour siege of India’s economic capital that left 166 people dead. India reacted furiously last month to a Pakistani court’s decision to grant bail to the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, although he has since been detained again.