Mumbai/Ahmedabad, April 21: Indian defence agencies have seized a boat with eight Pakistanis on board and carrying rcotics worth around Rs.6 billion ($95 m), in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast on Monday, the government confirmed on Tuesday. The vessel, fitted with sophisticated communication systems, was intercepted in intertiol waters in a joint operation by the Indian vy (IN) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG). The eight Pakistani tiols and the boat - the origin and destition of which were not disclosed - are being taken to Porbandar port in Gujarat for further investigations by law enforcement officials, Intelligence Bureau personnel, Indian vy and ICG.
“The initial investigations by ICG Sangram have led to recovery of 232 packets of rcotics (suspected to be heroin and worth up to Rs.600 crores in the intertiol market). Additiolly, satellite communication phones and Global Positioning Systems, being used to facilitate trans-shipment of the contraband to another boat were also confiscated,” the statement said. Following intelligence inputs, the operation to trace the suspicious vessel was launched on April 18 in close coordition with the Indian vy western command, along with the ICG north-west regiol headquarters.
Later, multiple units of the Indian vy, including INS Nirghat and INS Kondul, and ICG Sangram joined the search, besides extensive aerial searches by their Dorniers, IL-38 and P8I aircraft. This is the first major operation by the Indian agencies in the Gujarat region after the January 1 incident this year when a suspected smuggling boat had blown up, creating a major controversy between India and Pakistan. (IANS)