India made radars blamed for LTTE air raid

Updated on Mar 28, 2007 01:27 PM IST
The Lankan media blames Indian radars for the non-detection of LTTE aircraft, writes PK Balachandran.
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None | ByPK Balachandran, Colombo

A leading pro-government Sri Lankan newspaper has blamed Indian-made radars for the non-detection of the LTTE aircraft which bombarded the Air Force's main base at Katunayake, north of Colombo on Monday.

"Initial investigations revealed that the first generation radar installed by India failed to detect the incoming aircraft until the radar at the adjacent Bandranaike International Airport identified them," said The Island daily's defence correspondent Shamindra Ferdinando, in a front page lead story on Wednesday.

The report said that the Indian radars with the Sri Lankan Air Force had operational problems and presumably not functioning at the time of the attack.

By the time the international civil airport picked up the intruders on its radar, it was too late, because the invaders were just 3 kms from the airbase then.

"Had the SLAF radar spotted the intruders, the outcome of Monday's encounter would have been different," the paper quoted an un-named official as saying.

The Island said that the issue of the non-functioning of the Indian radars was taken up with the Indian High Commission in Colombo on Monday itself.

When Chandrika Kumaratunga was President, she had wanted to buy the more advanced 3D radars from China. But the then Indian High Commissioner, Nirupama Rao, had intervened and said that India had security considerations, and therefore India would supply radars for Colombo's defence, the paper said.

And Kumaratunga had no option but to agree.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa would seek a meeting with Nirupama Rao's successor, Alok Prasad, in this regard, the paper said.

"The unprecedented attack (on the airbase)has prompted the government to review the existing counter measures on a priority basis," it added.

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