Gujarat customs cautioned against straying into Pakistani waters

March 23rd, 2009 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Porbander, March 23 (IANS) The Coast Guard have cautioned the Gujarat customs against inadvertently straying into Pakistani waters, an error that hundreds of Indian fishermen commit while operating close to the country’s maritime boundary.
“We have been conveying a cautionary note to the field formations of Gujarat customs personnel patrolling on boats not only to be wary of their co-ordinates (position) while patrolling about 30 nautical miles off Jhakhau’s coastal waters close to the Gulf of Kutch but also report on any boat of the Pakistani Maritime Agency spotted far into the Indian side,” a senior Coast Guard official told IANS.

“This is a standard operating procedure we follow with Indian fishermen looking for a day’s catch near the maritime border with Pakistan,” the official added.

He said rising cases of Pakistani Maritime Agency personnel arresting Indian fishermen, many of whom do not actually sail into Pakistani waters but are picked up from the Indian side, had prompted the Coast Guard to ask the Gujarat customs to keep it regularly informed about their positions on the high seas.

The Coast Guard has also alerted the Gujarat customs of the threat of even coming under fire from Pakistani Maritime Agency boats at a time when relations between the two countries are not so cordial.

The customs staff patrolling off the Gujarat coast, although armed with revolvers and self-loading rifles, do not have modern weaponry with higher firepower on their boats compared to what is carried by the patrol boats of the Coast Guard and the Border Security Force (BSF), the official added.

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