NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A Pakistani fishing boat laden with explosives bound for India blew up, killing all four people on board, after the Indian coast guard tried to stop and search it, the Indian government said on Friday.
Indian intelligence said the crew planned "an illicit transaction" when the boat was intercepted on New Year's Eve in the Arabian Sea, 365 km (225 miles) off India's western coast, according to a government statement.
Ajay Kumar Pandey, a spokesman for the Indian Coast Guard, declined to comment when asked whether the explosives believed to be on board the fishing boat, which sank, were intended for use in a possible attack.
India's vulnerability to militant attacks along its long coastline was exposed in 2008 after the seaborne assault by Pakistani gunmen on Mumbai, the nation's financial capital.Ten Pakistani gunmen arrived on a rubber boat in Mumbai for the commando-style assault on two luxury hotels, a train station and a Jewish center that killed 166 people.Since the attack, India has upgraded coastal security, spending money on patrol vessels, helicopters and building a coastal radar network.The Indian Coast Guard chased the Pakistani boat for almost an hour and fired warning shots before it stopped, the statement said. The crew hid themselves below the deck, set the boat on fire, which resulted in an explosion, causing it to sink.
(Reporting By Andrew MacAskill and Rupam Jain Nair; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Nick Macfie)