'Piracy activities getting closer to Indian territory'

Posted By: Pti
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Indian Air Force
Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 1: The Southern Air Command of IAF would "add more teeth" to its capabilities to combat the menace of pirate activities, that are inching "closer" to the Indian territory, outgoing SAC chief Sumit Mukerji has said.

Addressing a farewell press meet last evening after completing four decades of his meritorious service, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief said SAC would get new assets to reach out to the Indian ocean where the pirate activities were "reasonably close" to the Lakshadweep islands.

The Command would "add more teeth to its air defence capabilities with the Indian ocean region gaining strategic importance," Mukerji said.

He said the Indian Navy was now well-equipped and engaged in strong anti-piracy measures. "The pirates were also reportedly upgrading their weaponry and mode of transportation."

Mukerji said the Indian ocean, being a vast area, the identification of a pirate ship "remains a problem".

"The pirates were fearless and merged with other ships on the sea and they could be identified only when they attack other ships," he said.

He also said the air bases at Tanjore and Sulur (both in Tamil Nadu) would soon become fully operational. While Tanjore would have a Sukhoi-30 fighter squadron soon, a light combat aircraft squadron would be set up at the Sulur unit by 2012-13.

Besides the Suo-30 fighters, Tanjore would have an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) squadron, a transport aircraft squadron and a radar unit, he said.

"It will be like an umbrella over the Indian ocean. Our radars are also integrated with that of the Navy and the Airport Authority of India," Mukherji said.


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