New Delhi: An Indian fishing boat was fired upon and later sunk by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency ( PMSA ) on January 17 at 7 am near Mitha Port in Gujarat. Following the incident, 7 Indian fishermen drowned while 6 were rescued by the Indian coast guard, 1 fisherman is missing and presumed dead.
The PMSA vessel had fired at the Indian fishing boat which later rammed and sunk the boat along the Indian fisherman 64 nautical miles south west of Mitha port.
India has raised the matter with Islamabad on January 19 through a note verbale sent from Ministry of External Affairs. “India condemned in the strongest term such deplorable and unprofessional act by PMSA of firing at a fishing vessel and later ramming and sinking it,” MEA said.
“Such acts are in contravention of all international laws, conventions and the established humanitarian norms and practices,” the Note Verbale added.
New Delhi called on Pakistan to “investigate the heinous act and instruct” its forces to “desist from such acts immediately”.
This is first such serious incident coming to light in many years. In 2015, in Pakistani firing, one Indian fisherman was killed.
The issue of Indian fishermen has been one of the key issues India has been raising with Pakistan. According to Indian government 418 fishermen who are Indian and believed-to-be Indian in Pakistan’s custody. Since 2014, India got back 1699 Indian fishermen and 57 Indian fishing boats from Pakistan.
Speaking in the Parliament on the issue of Indian fishermen in Pakistani custody, the Minister of state in the ministry of external affairs General VK Singh said, “Government regularly takes up the issue of early release and repatriation of Indian fishermen along with their boats with the Pakistan authorities.”
The development comes a day it emerged that Indian staff continued to be harassed by Pakistani Agencies in Islamabad. On 15th January, 2 Indians staff from Indian mission in Islamabad were stopped and questioned by Pakistan agency personnel. In December 2018, 4 incidents of harassment of Indian diplomats came to light.
(With inputs from Siddhant Sibbal)