'LTTE, terror groups focussing Kerala coast'

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Kochi, Nov 26: The LTTE and other terror groups are slowly shifting their operations to Kerala coast due to tightened vigil on Tamil Nadu and Konkan coasts, Southern Naval Command Flag Offficer Commanding-in-Chief Sunil K Damle said today.

Addressing a press conference here, Vice-Admiral Damle said 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 in the Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi stretch.

''A few instances have come to the notice of the local police, Coast Guard and Navy. Efforts are on 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 an 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 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, would 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 on with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for approval, he added.


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