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LTTE power worries India: Narayanan

Terming the LTTE a "terror organisation", the national security advisor says India is "concerned" by the air and sea capabilities of the Lankan rebels.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 29, 2007 01:11 PM IST

India is "concerned" by the air and sea capabilities of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas, a top Indian official said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, National Security Advisor MK Narayanan called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a "terrorist organisation" and said: "We are always concerned about their air and sea capabilities."

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

The LTTE, now locked in a bitter war against Colombo, has had a vibrant sea wing for years.

Its nascent air wing, called Tamil Eelam Air Force, which has been speculated about for years, made its presence felt only in March when it carried out a dramatic attack on Sri Lanka's main air base near Colombo.

Subsequently, LTTE planes have carried out more attacks, unsettling the Sri Lankan state and heralding a new dimension to the dragging separatist conflict.

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.

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

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 LK 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 Tamil Tiger media on charges of pursuing a tough line vis-à-vis the LTTE.

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