India steps up security along southern coast after Tiger air raid

CHENNAI, India, March 29, 2007 (AFP) – India has boosted military security along its southern coast after Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels staged their first air attack on a Colombo military base, officials said. The measures include increased navy patrols in the narrow strip of sea dividing India and Sri Lanka and the installation of radar units in a coastal village that is the nearest point to Sri Lanka’s embattled northern region.

“We’ve taken proactive measures and stepped up our vigil… increased our numbers on guard and intensified patrols,” Commandant Subrato Mukherjee said late Wednesday.

The moves come after Tamil Tiger rebels staged their first air raid Monday, bombing Sri Lanka’s main military base in a night-time mission that closed the international airport and killed at least three Sri Lankan air force men.

Security experts have said gaps exist in India’s air surveillance system and the acquisition of air capability by Tamil rebels was a matter of “deep concern.”

The radar in the village of Sundaramudaiyan was linked to an air defence system fitted with an anti-aircraft gun to intercept any enemy aircraft violating Indian airspace, said an Indian defence official who did not