ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 04

Indian Navy Chief calls Sea Tigers a nuisance

From Neville de Silva in London

India's chief of naval staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta dismissed the LTTE's Sea Tigers as a "nuisance" and said he was not concerned about it.

He also turned down any move towards joint naval patrol of the waters with Sri Lanka. Admiral Mehta was addressing the prestigious London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) on "India's Maritime Diplomacy and International Security", one in a series of talks by military leaders, last Thursday.

Asked by The Sunday Times whether India was concerned about the conventional and unconventional maritime capability of the LTTE, Admiral Mehta said it was more of a nuisance and India was not concerned, unless it saw this capability develop."We are in dialogue with the Sri Lanka navy and if they need help we will do so," he said.

In reply to another question by an IISS scholar, the visiting admiral said that there seems to be some confusion about joint patrols and co-ordinated patrols. He said that if joint patrolling meant putting Sri Lankan personnel on "my ships" or Indian personnel on Sri Lankan ships, he had no intention of doing so.

"We have defined borders and we are operating on our side", he said. But the two sides share information. Admiral Mehta said that the Indian navy is using gunboats in those waters and not missile boats because this is of no strategic significance and it is a "low-end operation."

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