The Indian navy has withdrawn two warships from the eastern port of Kolkata following “warnings” of a terrorist attack on the city and its port, officials said Wednesday. Indian Coast Guard spokesman Ashok Doval claimed their Kolkata unit had received warnings from federal intelligence agencies about a possible militant attack in Kolkata, particularly the port area.
The Indian navy spokesman Captain DK Sharma “confirmed” that the two ships, INS Khukri and the INS Sumitra, that were docked in Kolkata were moved back to sea. He said the ships were withdrawn for ‘operational reasons,’ declining to provide further details. “Operations of the navy are kept confidential and are never revealed. The ships which were berthed there for public viewing until Friday will be brought back at the next possible opportunity,” Sharma said.
Local media quoted police sources as saying that the city was on high alert after security agencies had intercepted conversations that militants posing as fishermen might launch the attack. Security has been tightened in Kolkata and there is increased patrolling at sea, including surveillance on trawlers and other shipping vessels. The move came two days after a suicide bomber killed 60 people near the India-Pakistan border, several hundred kilometres to the west. Indian security agencies have also been concerned over increasing infiltration by Bangladeshi Islamist militants into West Bengal state, of which Kolkata is the capital.