Pakistanis, Iraqis aboard detained ship off Lakshadweep questioned

Last Updated 26 December 2010, 14:30 IST

Sources privy to the interrogation of the foreign nationals said today they were not forthcoming in giving out details about their voyage. The ship has been anchored off Kavaratty, the capital of Lakshwadeep.

The ship had sailed into the waters and was heading to an unknown destination when it was challenged by the Coast Guard and the Navy, the sources said.

In a bid to take on piracy, a new Coast Guard (CG) headquarters and a station were inaugurated by Defence Minister A K Antony at Lakshadweep chain of islands two days ago, on December 24.

The headquarters of the CG district-12 in Kavaratti and the station at Minicoy are part of the Coast Guard's expansion plans and to combat the looming threat from the sea brigands in the Indian territorial waters.

The initial suspicion amounted to the ship’s movement towards the Maldives, which, according to Indian intelligence, is now a preferred destination by terror groups based in Pakistan.

However, the sources did not rule out the vessel sailing towards any of the unoccupied islands in Lakshadweep or Daman and Diu areas. However, the picture would be clear once the people on board the ship being questioned by the central security agencies, the Coast Guard and the Navy, give out information, the sources said.

The ship was being thoroughly combed and a special team was being rushed from Delhi to carry out the searches as well as to interrogate the crew of the ship, they added.

The Lakshadweep chain of islands have witnessed recent piracy attempts on cargo ships in and around its waters, as 14 incidents were reported from here in the last one year.

(Published 26 December 2010, 10:20 IST)

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