Indian Navy, ICG to intensify surveillance

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Ramanathapuram, Apr 10 (UNI) The Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has decided to intensify air and sea surveillance along the coastline to thwart smuggling activities to Sri Lanka and prevent infiltration of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) militants into Indian territorial waters in the wake of escalation of battle between the Lankan forces and the LTTE.

A senior official of the ICG, who did not want to be named told UNI here this evening that a decision to this effect was taken at a high-level 'Special Coastal Meeting' held here for the first time following increase in smuggling activities to Sri Lanka from the coastal villages of Tamil Nadu.

Considering Ramanathapuram town's close proximity to Sri Lanka, it was decided to further tighten inshore and onshore coastal security, supported by air and sea surveillance by the ICG and Indian Navy, he said.

The meeting chaired by ADGP of ICG Jegan Mohan Seshadri reviewed the security of the 1076 mile long coastline in Tamil Nadu. It was decided to intensify surveillance in 21 unmanned islands between Sri Lanka and India to prevent the activities of anti-social elements and also over the 591 coastal villages and hamlets in Tamil Nadu.

The State police have been advised to properly screen the Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, as there was possibility of LTTE militants sneaking into the State in the guise of refugees. It was also decided to hold a joint patrolling of ICG and Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department officials once in a week, the official said.

He said necessary steps would be taken to prevent Indian fishermen from crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and trespassing into Sri Lankan territorial waters resulting in the firing by the Lankan navy.

The meeting decided to issue token system for the first time to out board engine fitted Vallams (boats) for fishing activities with immediate effect, he added.

K Janardhanan, Commandng Officer, ICG, Mandapam station, Rahul Raje, Commander Naval Air station, Uchipuli (Ramanathapuram), District Collector R Kirlosh Kumar, senior police and fisheries department officials participated in the meeting.

UNI GSM ROY RL RN2044

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