Security concerns over Sethu project manageable: Navy chief

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New Delhi, Feb 1 (UNI) The Navy today admitted there were security concerns in the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project, but said the country should not bow before any threat and instead go ahead with such ''good and viable'' initiatives.

''Undoubtedly there are security concerns, but we can manage them. We are here to take care of all these issues.... that is what we are meant for,'' Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta told UNI here.

He said the threats from terror outfits such as LTTE were always there. ''But we are capable to meet such challenges.'' The Navy Chief was commenting on a statement by Coast Guard Director General Vice Admiral Rusi Contractor that the navigable route around the Indian peninsula could lead to ''security issues,'' including terror threats.

''Security and environmental issues are bound to increase with the project. If the seaway is opened for transiting ships, you can have piracy. But then, terrorism is an omnipresent and universal threat,'' he said at an official briefing at the Coast Guard's 31st anniversary here yesterday.

Terming the project ''good and viable,'' the Navy Chief said it was aimed at linking the east and west coasts besides helping bolster the sea trade.

However, Admiral Mehta said the project would be viable only for small ships. ''It will take care of 30,000-ton ships. But, the big tankers will have to take a different route.'' He also sought to dispel apprehensions regarding traffic congestion in the canal once the seaway would be thrown open.

UNI AG pk ht1922

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