Kolkata/New Delhi: Two naval warships were moved out of Kolkata Port after a high alert was sounded by Central intelligence agencies on the possibility of a terror strike on what is the country’s only riverine port.
The agencies warned that Pakistan-based terrorists may also target the Haldia dock complex.
The Navy swiftly moved out two of its warships that had arrived there on Monday from Visakhapatnam, citing “operational commitments”.
INS Khukri and INS Sumitra had berthed at the Kidderpore docks on Monday and were due to take part in the Navy Week celebrations.
The media was given a preview of the vessels on Tuesday, and some 60 street children were given a quick tour, and the ships were due to be open to the public on November 5 and 6, and to other schoolchildren on November 7.
Read: Kolkata port: Warships returned not due to terror threat, says Navy
Inputs received by the Kolkata Port Trust on Monday night indicated that Pakistan-based terrorists were planning a seaborne attack with the possible help of some former Pakistan Navy personnel.
The alert said such an attack may take place between November 4 and 7.
The Central agencies said the threat was uncorroborated intelligence, but it needed to be treated on priority basis.
The CISF swiftly beefed up deployment, patrolling and checks at various installations in Kolkata and Haldia ports, and the Coast Guard also intensified its vigil in the Bay of Bengal, sources said.
The Kolkata police too heightened its security arrangement in the port area, and stepped up its vigil in other parts of the city.
The Eastern Naval Command later clarified there was no link between the ships’ movement and the terror threat, saying that the warships had returned to sea because of operational reasons.
Defence spokesman Group Captain T.K. Singla said: “The alacrity by which Indian warships are ready for operations at short notice was demonstrated by the quick turnaround of the two visiting warships — INS Khukri and INS Sumitra — amply showcasing the Navy’s prompt readiness as the two warships are set to sail out within hours of recall to sea for operational reasons on the orders of the Eastern Naval Command HQ today.”
Gp. Capt. Singla added: “The warships were scheduled to berth here till Friday, enabling the public visit the ships on Wednesday and Thursday. Although their recall may sound a bit of a dampener to some, especially students of various schools and colleges, the recall of the warships does not in any way prejudice their chances of a return here on a later date. Fresh dates, as and when approved, subject yet again to operational commitments and service exigencies, will be publicised.”