Foreign Office (FO) spokeswoman Tasneem Aslam has rebutted Indian claims that a Pakistan boat had entered their waters. She made it clear that none of our boats went missing as claimed by Indian officials to the extent of calling it a ‘drama’. History is replete with maritime skirmishes being omens and openers for wars, the most latest being Chinas aggression in disputed Vietnamese waters heating up relations between them quite similar to India and Pakistan. Some would even quote other famous spectacles, like in 1971 when India was suspected of staging a hijacking of a Fokker aircraft to stop PIA flights going to Dhaka. But it is hoped that this issue now is not blown out of proportion, if Indian authorities can help themselves.

Meanwhile India cannot get its story straight. India’s Deputy Inspector General of the Coast Guard denied reports, which said that he had admitted ordering a Pakistani boat to be blown up in the Arabian Sea on New Year’s eve. This is in contradiction to New Delhi’s official position claiming the boat had ‘suspected terror links’ and that the crew had committed suicide by setting the vessel on fire. To the muddle, the Coast Guard DIG B.K. Loshali rejected the media report terming it as ‘not factual’ and denied making any such claim. Additionally, the Indian media is even more sensationalist than ours, and many a sane voices across the border also take this to be a mountain made out of a mole hill by a drama-hungry media.

As per the intelligence inputs received by Indian officials, a fishing boat from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some illicit transaction in the Arabian Sea. Based on the input, the Coast Guard Dornier aircraft undertook sea - air coordinated searches and located the suspect fishing boat. While this may at least be plausible, the rest of the story is speculation and embellishment. The boat wasn’t a “terror boat”, and we can’t be sure if it was blown by the Indians or caught fire itself. All we know is that everything ends up being blamed on Pakistan, and the government is being made to provide explanations for a fishing boat incident, which are quite common, thanks to India’s self created security hysteria.

Whatever the truth, we have to be vigilant on our part and make sure that all our fishing boats are kept an eye on, that our fishermen are safe, no illicit activity is in progress and that we stay well away from Indian coasts.