Even as defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s attempted to scotch all talks about the occupants on the suspicious Pakistani boat, saying they were “suspected or possible terrorists” in touch with Pakistani maritime officials and army, question remain as to why the intelligence was not shared with coastal states and other security agencies. It is stated that the information was shared by a Group Captain who has been with NTRO for over six years directly with the Coast Guard without using the protocol of sharing it with the Multi Agency Centre, the official agency to ensure real-time processing and sharing of intelligence.Parikkar patted the Coast Guard on the back, saying they did “the right job at the right time,” by chasing the Pakistani boat off the Porbandar coast. He, however, mentioned the occupants as the “suspected or possible terrorists”. Speaking on the sidelines of a defence function on Monday, Parrikar said: “They (Coast Guard) reacted immediately, they got the air surveillance done on the boat for almost 12 to 14 hours, intercepted it as soon as possible and stopped it after a chase…”His remarks came as questions were being raised on the veracity of claims that a 2008 Mumbai attack-style operation had been foiled. There are also reports claiming that the boat was involved in smuggling. The boat was neither in a fishing area nor on any busy route preferred by smugglers to sneak in, Parrikar said, adding that their actions indicate that they were there for “some other kind of activity”. At the same time, he said, “We are not sure what is that other kind.” He said intercepted satellite communication showed they were interacting about passing of cargo and talking about families of some of the boat members. “Smugglers don’t keep in touch with Pakistani maritime agency, or their army or international contacts,” he said.Meanwhile, ruling BJP and principal opposition continued slanging match against each other using the incident. Congress spokesman RS Surjiwala asked BJP to desist from branding every citizen asking questions a Pakistani. He was responding to criticism by the BJP for casting doubt on the Coast Guard operations. Surjiwala said they had right to ask questions in the wake of conflicting perceptions of NTRO on one side and the Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and the R&AW on the other, along with the ministry of defence which gave a particular version of the incident. Guj coastline not secure: CongCongress spokesman Shaktisinh Gohil, who is also a Gujarat MLA, maintained that the Gujarat coastline was the most unprotected, benefiting the smugglers. Despite Gujarat having the longest coastline bordering Pakistan and Porbandar used by terrorists to get a boat in the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, the government has remained indifferent, not utilising funds poured in by the Centre to prevent repeat of such attacks.Gohil pointed out that the Centre had given 30 interceptor boats with night vision cameras to Gujarat, but hey were not used, money given to set up the coastal police stations was used for police stations in Ahmedabad and Banaskantha, only one police station in Kutch district having a coastline of 238 km, none of the 21 coastal posts made operational, police station in the coastal area between Harshad Mata Temple and Dwarka shifted leaving the vast track open to terrorists while Patrol boats in Gujarat remain idle for months and the exclusive marine wing for intelligence and investigation not set. Gohil said there was no surprise that the smugglers and terrorists are coming to the Gujarat coastline and Modi as the chief minister even ignored the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) warnings to tighten the security in the coastal areas in the interest of the national security.
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