LTTE, other terror groups shifting operations to Kerala coast:Damle

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Kochi, Nov 26 (UNI) Facing tighter vigil on the Tamil Nadu and Konkan coasts, the LTTE and other terror groups are slowly shifting their operations to the Kerala coast, Flag Offficer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, Sunil K Damle said today.

Addressing a press conference here, Vice-Admiral Damle said that the LTTE, which was facing an ''almost impenetrable situation'' on the Tamil Nadu coast, was now beginning to shift its drug trafficking, arms running and other activities to the Kerala coast, especially the Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi stretch.

''A few instances have come to the notice of the local police, Coast Guard and the Navy. Efforts are being made to check this at the initial stage itself. The Navy is always available to lend any assistance to the Coast Guard, which is mainly responsible for checking any illegal activity along the coast,'' he said.

Similarly, there was information that some other terror groups, which had been earlier landing RDX on the Konkan coast, were facing tighter vigil there and were trying to shift their operations to the Malabar coast in Kerala, he said.

Stating that the Indian Navy was now widely recognised for its ''blue water capability'', he said that it was playing the role of a powerful instrument in the country's foreign and defence policies.

The force, which presently had 118 ships and 16 submarines, was augmenting its fleet and also upgrading the capability of the existing platforms.

The aircraft carrier being built at the Cochin Shipyard and the Naval Academy coming up at Ezhimala in Kannur district of Kerala were among the major upcoming Naval projects.

The Naval Academy, which would be commissioned on January one, 2009, will commence its B.Tech course from July one, 2009. The course had already been granted approval in principle by the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi. Negotiations were also on with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for approval, he said.

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