New Delhi on Tuesday accused Islamabad of “false propaganda”, after the Pakistan Navy claimed it had detected an Indian submarine trying to enter its territorial waters. Pakistan had claimed earlier in the day that it had successfully thwarted India’s attempt.
The defence wing of the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau issued a statement in the evening, saying the Indian Navy “remains deployed as necessary” to protect the country’s maritime interests.
“Over the past several days, we have witnessed Pakistan indulging in false propaganda and the spread of misinformation,” it said. “The Indian Navy does not take cognisance of such propaganda. Our deployments remain undeterred.”
Earlier in the day, the Pakistan Navy had claimed it had “used its specialised skills to ward off the submarine, successfully keeping it from entering Pakistani waters”, reported Dawn. The Navy said it had kept in mind the government’s initiative to maintain peace and had not targeted the Indian submarine, and that New Delhi should “learn from this incident” and work towards peace.
Pakistan’s statement had said that the Indian submarine’s detection was “a testament of the Pakistan Navy’s superior skills”. “The Navy will keep defending Pakistan’s naval border,” it had said. “The force has the capability to respond to any aggression.”
This was the second instance reported of the Pakistan Navy detecting an Indian submarine trying to cross into Pakistani waters since November 2016.
Pakistan’s allegation came amid heightened tensions between the two neighbours in the wake of the cross-border air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force in Balakot on February 26. The strikes were in response to the Pulwama suicide attack on February 14, which killed 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force. The bombing was claimed by the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is led by Pakistan-based Masood Azhar.
On February 27, Pakistan in return had claimed that its Air Force had struck “non-military” targets across the Line of Control in a show of its capability, and had shot down two Indian aircraft that tried to respond. India said it had shot down a Pakistani jet that tried to target military installations.
A pilot of the Indian Air Force, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was taken in custody by Pakistan after his MiG-21 Bison was shot down. He was later released and came back to India on Friday night.