Indian Navy steps up search for terrorists along sea route

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Kochi, Nov 27 (UNI) Following reports that the ultras involved in the Mumbai terror attacks had come and escaped by the sea route, the Indian Navy has started investigating suspicious looking ships and crafts in the vicinity of the city, Vice-Admiral Sunil K Damle, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command (SNC), said today.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the possible escape routes were being investigated by the Naval units.

Asked about the security lapse which enabled the ultras to approach Mumbai through the sea route, Vice-Admiral Damle said the protection of the west coast under 'Operation Swan' was the responsibility of the Coast Guard and the local states as the Navy had been relieved of this responsibility some time ago.

Not ruling out the possibility of Somalian pirates funding terrorist organisations as a retaliation to the Indian Naval action against them in the Gulf of Aden, the Vice-Admiral said the Indian Navy had stepped up security at its assets in the past one week.

''We strongly suspect that as a result of our action against them, the Somalian pirates may fund terrorist organisations to attack the Indian Navy and we are taking measures against that,'' he added.

Asked about the Lakshadweep Islands being used as a base for terrorist activities, he said as of now there was no information about any such activity taking place in the islands.

Vice-Admiral Damle, who had earlier spoken of the LTTE moving its operations to the west coast of India following the sealing of the east coast, said there were no fresh inputs about the activities of the Sri Lankan militant group on the west coast.

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