NEW DELHI: Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan on Wednesday said that Pakistani ships in the high seas posed a jihadi threat to the country’s maritime security. Although various measures had been taken after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, averting a terror attack from the high seas was still a major cause of concern.
Speaking during the annual press conference, on the eve of Navy Day in the capital, Admiral Dhowan admitted that an attempt by militants to hijack a Pakistan Navy frigate was an alarming issue and the threat of maritime terrorism was increasing. On the reported failed attempts by Pakistani militants to hijack ‘PNS Zulfiqar’ in Karachi two months ago, Dhowan said, “It was indeed a very, very serious situation, which the Navy has taken a serious note of.”
During the Karachi incident, it was reported that militants had plans to target an Indian vessel.
The Navy Chief also maintained that it was not humanly possible to monitor a floating armoury of over 2.5 lakh fishing boats in the high seas. “We have inputs that certain aspects of terrorism in the maritime domain is increasing. That has been taken into account in our security matrix,” the Navy Chief said.
Asked if the Navy takes into account the possibility that there might be a jihadi group on board, when it encounters a Pakistani ship, following the attack on PNS Zulfiqar, he said, “We are taking that aspect into account.” Dhowan referred to the changed threat scenario, in the wake of the militant attempt and said that if our Army finds another Army charging at its post, it will be a cause of “great alarm”, because the land border would have been violated.
Similarly, if an IAF aircraft has another warplane from a different Air Force close onits tail, it will be a cause of “great alarm, because our airspace would been violated”, he said. “But, out at the sea, when the officers on watch report to the Captain that they have a warship from another Navy, the Captain would tell the officer to wish him ‘Good morning’, because he is international waters and so are you. Well, in this changed environment, we have to rethink. We may not wish him good morning and actually carry out a surveillance and figure out who he is,” the Navy Chief said.