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LTTE raid finds India at work

world Updated: Sep 10, 2008 00:21 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Eighteen years after India withdrew its peace-keeping force from Sri Lanka, two Indian radar operators were injured in an LTTE air raid on a Sri Lankan air force base in the northern district of Vavuniya early on Tuesday.

The radar operators belong to the Bharat Electronics Limited, and their presence confirms whispers of renewed Indian involvement in the Sri Lankan war against the Tigers. Between 1987 and 1990, some 1,200 Indian Army officers and men were killed while battling the Tamil rebels.

The LTTE attack came in two forms — an air raid by two light aircraft of the Air Tiger division and a ground attack by Black Tigers, or LTTE’s suicide squad. At least 20 combatants died.

The Sri Lankan military claimed to have shot down one of the two LTTE aircraft. But the rebels denied that and said both aircraft made it back intact.

The two Indian personnel were identified as A.K. Thakur and Chintamani Rout. They were flown down from the airbase near Vavuniya town, about 250 km from Colombo, to the Apollo hospital here.

A doctor said neither had suffered life-threatening injuries.

It was learnt that Thakur and Rout were at the base to operate and train SLAF personnel in the use of Indra-I radar, used for mobile surveillance.