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Antony tells Lok Sabha that terrorists could infiltrate through sea between India and Sri Lanka

By Walter Jayawardhana

INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTER A.K. ANTONY TELLS LOK SABHA THAT TERRORISTS COULD INFILTRATE SEA BETWEEN INDIA AND SRI LANKA

In the wake of the discovery by the Indian security of LTTE boats with terrorist material off the country’s Southern coast intelligence agencies have warned about the ability of terrorists to infiltrate through the sea route and target India’s off shore installations Defense Minister A.K. Antony told the Lok Sabha, the Indian parliament recently.

The Indian Defense Minister spoke about various kinds of terrorists imparting training in India and said there is “likelihood of their infiltration through sea routes.”

Earlier police reports had said that the LTTE also was involved in training various Indian inusurgent groups at various parts of India.

Antony’s statement came in the wake of reports that the Navy vessels discovered Sri Lankan Tamil boats last month for carrying more than 100kg of explosives mid sea to be delivered to the Sri Lanka’s terror outfit, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

But obviously laying a red herring in the light of such discoveries, Gopalaswamy Vaiko, leader of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, whose party is alleged to be on the payroll of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has gone to Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh to complain that it was the Sri Lankan Navy that had shot and killed an Indian fisherman and injured several other fishermen by shooting. “There is no security to the lives of the fishermen from the State who are attacked by the Lankan Navy,” Vaiko said in a memorandum to the Prime Minister. The Sri Lankan government has accused the LTTE for probably instigating such shooting to stage a crisis situation and has denied entering the Indian waters.

Following the discovery of LTTE boats with bomb making material, the Defense Minister said, the country’s coastal belt was being patrolled by the Indian Coast Guard in coordination with the state police and the navy.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, the Indian parliament, indicating the dangers India faced from its sea borders he emphasised that maritime terrorism, gunrunning, drug trafficking and piracy were the major threats.

“The measures that have been taken and planned to enhance the coastal security include regular aerial surveillance and maritime patrolling along the coast, establishment of coastal police stations in the littoral states, as part of the Coastal Security Scheme,” he said, emphasizing the same points when the LTTE was caught red handed some weeks ago.

In another incident last month, police found 92 gunny bags loaded with smuggled materials hidden in the well of the boat and confiscated them.

The bags consisted of aluminium bricks, explosive materials, fuse wires, steel clips, steel washers, remote control equipments and aluminium plates weighing more than 800 kg, worth a few million rupees.

Apart from the major incident of the discovery of a LTTE suicide boat off the Kodiakarai coast of Tamil Nadu some other incidents where LTTE is involved criminally in Tamila Nadu are as follows:

  • March 06: Two Sri Lankan Tamils– Rahul alias Antony and Arulseelan were arrested by the detectives of Q Branch of the Tamil Nadu Police from Chennai and Tiruchy on March 5 and 6. Based on their statements police raided couple of places and recovered Indian Rupees one million and 150 bags of iron balls weighing 4.5 metric tons.
  • February 12: Indian Navy personnel arrested two suspects with around 2.9 tonnes of explosive material off the Rameswaram coast in Tamil Nadu while they were trying to smuggle the IED components for the Tamil Tigers.
  • January 19: Tamil Nadu police arrested, a LTTE agent identified as G. Elango carrying a British passport and over 25 ATM cards. Sources said that Elango illegally withdrew over INR 30 lakh from the ATMs and transferred money to the United Kingdom through unauthorized channels. The crdit card racket is linked to UK, Germany, Norway and some African countries and some Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand.

Animesh Roul, an Indian commentator said, “Meanwhile, India’s Intelligence agencies have issued warning about the possibility of terrorist infiltration (LTTE and Islamic terrorists) through the sea route and could target India’s offshore installations. The emerging commercial links between the LTTE and Al-Qaeda and militants in Afghanistan (as claimed by London based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)’s in its Military Balance 2007, and seconded by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, however, necessitated another in depth discussion.”

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March 12, 2007 - Posted by | News and politics

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