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India on radar of terrorists, getting threats everyday: Antony

By Manoj Kumar Ramesh

Minicoy (Lakshadweep), Dec 24 (ANI): India is on the radar of terrorists and has thwarted more than hundreds of threats from terror outfits in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, according to Defence Minister AK Antony.

The Defence Minister on Friday inaugurated two Coast Guard establishments in Lakshadweep at Kavaratti and Minicoy in order to strengthen the coastal security in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks and against the backdrop of rising incidents of piracy near the 7,500 km-long Indian coastline in the past few weeks.

The last outpost of the country in the Arabian Sea, Minicoy, got its coastal security surveillance apparatus and a new Coast Guard District Headquarters was established for Lakshadweep at Kavaratti.

"After 26/11 we have met hundreds of threats successfully. India is on radar of terrorists and we have to be constantly vigilant 24X7. The Coast Guard, the Navy and the armed forces are always vigilant," Antony said, while addressing the personnel and the islanders at Minicoy.

"Now we realize that island territories are becoming more and more important. Unless we take care of island territories because large number of them are uninhabited. That is why Coast Guard and the Navy are concentrating more and more on islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep," he said.

Assuring the people over the readiness of the armed forces in tackling any terrorist threat, Antony said: "Compared to 26/11 coastal security is much superior now, but at the same time we are getting threats almost everyday."

"After 26/11 we have already commissioned eight Coast Guard Stations and this is third district headquarters that we have commissioned. We are in the process of installing 38 static radars and by November 2011 all the static radars throughout the country will be commissioned. Assets of Coast Guards have been substantially increased and force level has been almost doubled," he added.

The two new establishments in the strategically located islands will provide the much needed teeth to Coast Guard operations and enhance safety and security of Lakshadweep Islands. They would also facilitate greater synergy between Coast Guard, administration of Lakshadweep and other agencies.

The Indian Coast Guard also plans to set up another Coast Guard Station at Androth next year and an air enclave at Minicoy in 2012. Six radar stations of the Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) are also being established in the Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.

The Lakshadweep group of islands is also vulnerable to marine pollution as two of the world's busiest Sea lanes of Communication (SLOC) are abounding it. The Eight Degree Channel, which separates the Minicoy island from the Maldives, witnesses maritime traffic of as many as 30-40 ships a day.

To protect Indian flagged ships and citizens employed in sea faring duties, the Navy commenced anti piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden since October 2008. A total of 23 naval ships have been deployed to thwart the threats of Somali pirates.

The Indian Naval ships during their deployments for anti-piracy operations have prevented 23 piracy attempts on merchant vessels. by Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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