New Delhi: Seeking to put to rest all speculation over the Pakistani “terror boat”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday debunked the suggestion that it was a smugglers' vessel and those on board were not terrorists.
“I think I would classify them as suspected or possible terrorists as they committed suicide; a normal boat even carrying drugs can surrender,” Parrikar told reporters.
“Why would smugglers stay in touch with Pakistani maritime authorities, army and international contacts? Furthermore, why would they commit suicide?” he asked.
Lauding the Coast Guard for doing the “right job at right time based on intelligence inputs”, Parrikar said the boat had been on surveillance for 12 hours and it was intercepted as soon as possible.
Parrikar said since the boat was laden with explosives, it could even have inflicted damage to Coast Guard ship and chopper.
“The location (of the boat) was not normal sea route. The smugglers normally take the busy route so that they can mingle with other boats (and avoid detection),” the minister said. “I am not speculating that there were explosives, but their (crew's) activities to my mind don't fit the description of smugglers,” he added.
The minister revealed that the Coast Guard had spotted another boat, but the same was in international waters.
"We will release everything in a few days after the entire analysis," he said, as per ANI.
The controversy had erupted after Congress questioned government's claims over the alleged terror boat.
"The government should come clean on it. There is no evidence. How can you say that a terrorist attack was prevented?" Congress leader Ajoy Kumar had said, while demanding a probe into the incident.
The ruling BJP had reacted angrily to the Congress' allegations, and said its questioning the matter showed the opposition party had touched a "new low" in politics.
Meanwhile, while reacting to reports of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed being spotted on the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir, Parrikar said it shows “an attempt of pushing unwanted elements across the border”.
He added that recent ceasefire violations were also an attempt by Pakistan to divert attention from last month's deadly Taliban attack on an army school in Peshawar.