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Tiger air, sea power worries India

National Security Advisor says India has enhanced surveillance:

INDIA: India is “concerned” by the air and sea capabilities of the LTTE, a top Indian official said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan called the Tigers a terrorist organisation, saying: “We are always concerned about their air and sea capabilities.”

He said the Sea Tigers “are a threat; otherwise why should we increase (Indian) patrolling” in the sea dividing India and Sri Lanka.

Narayanan said the Centre would take all necessary steps including enhancing security to protect Tamil Nadu fishermen from attacks on the high seas.

“We will have to start coordinated patrolling,” Narayanan told reporters.

Narayanan, who was with the chief minister for about 20 minutes, added that coordinated Naval patrolling between India and Sri Lanka in the sea that divides them was yet to start, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

Asked if Karunanidhi had any objection to such patrolling, Narayanan replied: “I don’t find any problems for that.”

About coordinated patrolling, he said the opinion of the Lanka was also required in this regard and “I do not think there is any problem from our side”.

To a question whether new Delhi planned to step up assistance to the Sri Lankan defence forces to tackle LTTE, he said, “Ask the political leadership”.

Karunanidhi, who later spoke briefly to journalists, however, denied discussing the issue of “coordinated patrolling” with Narayanan.

The chief minister, who is here to attend a meeting of the National Development Council, said Narayanan called on him to discuss the problems faced by the Tamil Nadu fishermen — on the suggestion of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The chief minister said Narayanan would travel to Chennai again to take forward their discussions on the security situation related to Sri Lanka.

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary L.K. Tripathi was present during the Karunanidhi-Narayanan meeting.

Narayanan, an Indian Police Service officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, has in recent times come under attack in the Tiger media on charges of pursuing a tough line vis-a-vis the LTTE.

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