KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan on Thursday said it has arrested 56 Indian fishermen for allegedly trespassing into its territorial waters.

The fishermen were on 10 boats, all of which have been seized, the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency said in a statement.

“The apprehended crew members seem to be fishermen. However, they will further be interrogated by concerned security organs to establish their exact identity and intent for operating in our waters,” it said.

“Furthermore, our adversary is always looking forward to carve out space for [a] false flag operation, and its possibility in maritime domain cannot be ruled out,” the statement further said, referring to Islamabad’s repeated warnings of a false flag operation inside its territory amid escalating tensions between the two nuclear rivals.

Already icy relations between the neighbors have further plummeted since New Delhi scrapped the semi-autonomous status of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region last August.

Pakistan and India frequently arrest fishermen for violating each other’s maritime limits due to poorly marked boundaries and ill-equipped boats that lack the technology to specify exact locations.

The strained bilateral relations often lead to the fishermen being kept in jail for long periods, and in some cases, even after their sentences have been served.

However, both countries have also released hundreds of detained fishermen in recent years.

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