India’s Orchestrated Boat Drama Revisited
On December 31, 2014, Indian agencies orchestrated a terror boat drama to defame Pakistan in the world. In this respect, Indian media and high officials unfolded the drama on the New Year’s eve by allegedly reporting that a Pakistani fishing boat as a Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was intercepted by Indian Coast Guards, some 356 km. off the coast of Porebandar, Gujarat. Taking a new twist which overturned Indian aspersions in accusing Pakistan, the Indian government had claimed that it had foiled another 26/11-type attack of Mumbai.
As per Indian Coast Guard IG, K R Nautiyal, an operation was undertaken on a precise intelligence tip and boat was ordered to stop, but it did not comply and sped away. Propagating that Pakistani terrorists had been apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard on the high seas and, after a long chase, when warning shots had been fired, the ‘terrorists’ had blown themselves up.
Indian Coast Guard officials stated that no body or debris was found due to bad weather. Moreover, it was also stated that search was on for another boat which they fear was in communication with the capsized boat.
The Pakistani media said that the Indian media was playing up the incident without establishing proper links to terrorism. The incident was strongly rejected by Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, terming it as mere propaganda aimed at tarnishing Pakistan’s image. She elaborated, “Pakistan expects India to conduct a transparent probe to ascertain the facts of the boat incident, while highlighting that its own investigation had shown that there was no sound evidence to substantiate India’s assertions. On the so called terror boat incident, India has not approached Pakistan through diplomatic channels.”
However, the boat incident had also stirred a controversy within India itself. Indian National Congress had stated that it has doubts on government’s version of Porebandar incident. The BJP in response had stated that Congress was lending credence to Pakistani stance. In this regard, hitting at Congress, BJP President Amit Shah asked the opposition party, whether it was fighting elections in India or Pakistan.
It is notable that 48 hours after the incident, the Indian officials had started portraying another version by suggesting that the boat which had left Keti Bandar, Karachi might have belonged to small time smugglers.
And it was not possible that 30 HP boat could run four state of the art Indian Coast Guard ships. The media clips showed only fire damage to the boat, whereas, in case of an explosion, as suggested by the Indians, complete boat which was small in size, would have torn to pieces.
Indian officials said that wreckage and dead bodies could not be recovered due to bad weather, whereas, open source met data forecasted fair weather. The argument is supplemented by the fact that small boats do not operate in deep open waters unless weather is clear.
Meanwhile, despite the insistence of Islamabad, no solid proof was provided by Indian authorities about the incident, and no inquiry reports was shared with local and international media. Hence, Pakistan launched strong diplomatic protest at UNO, demanding impartial inquiry which could expose Indian fabricated story regarding the Boat episode.
Nevertheless, we cannot see the event in isolation. The aim of that stereotype Indian orchestrated boat drama was to create an aura against Pakistan prior to US President Barrack Obama’s visit (25-27 Jan. 2015) to India and put pressure on Pakistan government on Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi’s bail issue and allege LeT as an organization, posing regional threats. Prior to Obama’s visit, Indian propaganda was also part of overall plan to malign Pakistan of sponsoring terrorist activities in India. New Delhi, for the last few months, was propagating conduct of terrorist activities by LeT inside India.
India had also been projecting the possibility of a terrorist attack coinciding with Obama’s visit or targeting the dignitary. In this context, Indian secret agency, RAW, Intelligence Bureau and other intelligence agencies had been issuing threat alert almost on daily basis. The issuance of such alerts by New Delhi reflected the concerns of the US and the West regarding the prevailing law and order and security situation in India—being deteriorated by the Hindu terrorism which has been encouraged by BJP hardliner Narendra Modi who got a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014 and has become the prime minister of India. Hindu majority was mobilized on anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim slogans. Therefore, he is fulfilling the agenda of Hinduvta (Hindu nationalism).
In fact, Hindu politics and culture are dominated by the fundamentalist parties such as BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena and other similar groups which have been propagating Hindutva. Provocative utterances of their extremist leaders have resulted into unending violence against the Muslim and Christians including other minority groups, while, India is also facing insurgency and terrorism in its various regions.
It is mentionable that on January 20, 2013, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confessed the nexus between BJP and the RSS, disclosing that organized training camps run by these fundamentalist parties were promoting Hindu terrorism. They also disclosed that these parties were behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts including Gujarat and Babri Masjid incidents. Earlier, New Delhi was accusing Pakistan’s primary intelligence agency, ISI for blasts in Malegaon and other cities.
It is noteworthy that on December 13, 2001, Indian parliament was attacked by five terrorists. Without any evidence, Indian top officials and TV channels started a blame game against Pakistan by involving the banned Lashkar-e-Tayba and ISI in relation to the Parliament assault.
While, regarding the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks, Indian rulers and media had again started a blame game against Pakistan, propagating that Indian Mujahideen, the banned Lashkar-e-Tayba and ISI were behind the Mumbai carnage.
Availing the pretext of the parliament attack and Mumbai catastrophe, New Delhi had, twice, suspended the process of dialogue with Islamabad in wake of its highly provocative actions like mobilization of troops. Pakistan had also taken defensive steps to meet any Indian prospective aggression or surgical strikes. But, India failed in implementing its aggressive plans, because Pakistan also possesses atomic weapons.
It is of particular attention that on July 19, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma revealed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws. It proved that both the dramas were also orchestrated by the Indian intelligence agencies.
Renowned thinkers, Hobbes, Machiavelli and Morgenthau opine that sometimes, rulers act upon immoral activities like deceit, fraud and falsehood to fulfill their countries’ selfish aims. But such a sinister politics was replaced by new trends such as fair-dealings, reconciliation and economic development. Regrettably, India is still following past politics in modern era.
Nonetheless, as part of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan move, BJP-led government which is continuously manipulating the double standard of the US-led Western countries in relation to New Delhi and Islamabad had orchestrated the boat drama to defame Pakistan prior to Obama’s Indian visit.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations