‘Detected and blocked’ Indian submarine incursion: Pakistan army

Oct 19, 2021 | Kashmir Coverage (General News)

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s navy claims it “detected and blocked” an Indian military submarine from entering Pakistani territorial waters earlier this week, according to a statement – the third such reported incursion by an Indian submersible vessel since 2016.

According to a statement released by the Pakistani military on Tuesday, the attempted incursion by an Indian submarine occurred on Saturday night. 

“During the prevailing security milieu, a strict monitoring watch has been kept by Pakistan Navy to safeguard maritime frontiers of Pakistan,” said the Pakistani statement.

It said the submarine had been “prematurely detected and tracked by [Pakistan Navy] long-range maritime patrol aircraft”.

There was no immediate response from the Indian government to the accusation.

The South Asian neighbours’ militaries and governments regularly trade accusations against one another, usually centring around the alleged sponsorship of armed groups operating on each other’s soil.

Tuesday’s accusation is the third time Pakistan’s military has claimed it has detected an Indian submarine since 2016. The two previous claims occurred in November 2016 and in March 2019.

The reported incursion in 2019 occurred days after a tense military standoff in the disputed territory of Kashmir that saw both countries bomb each other’s territories and an aerial dogfight that ended with an Indian fighter jet being shot down by Pakistani jets.

A video accompanying the Pakistani military’s latest statement appears to show infrared footage of a submarine mast taken on October 16 between 11:18pm and 11:36pm local time (18:18-18:36 GMT).

The geographic location tag for the “target” in the accompanying footage places the target approximately 283km (176 miles) south of the Pakistani coastal city of Karachi, the country’s largest metropolis.

The position would be just inside the boundary of Pakistan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), an area of coastal water and seabed that countries have exclusive economic rights over, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Territorial sea limits, over which countries hold exclusive sovereign rights, extend to 22km (13 miles) off the coast, while the EEZ extends to 370km (230 miles) off the coast, according to the UN Convention.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan and India have fought three full-scale wars since gaining independence from the British in 1947. Their relations have been particularly tense since the 2019 military standoff, which centred on the disputed region of Kashmir, claimed by both nations.

Asad Hashim | Al Jazeera