Date:22/09/2008 URL:

Tamil Nadu - Ramanathapuram

“No Indian troops in Sri Lanka”

C. Jaishankar

RAMANATHAPURAM: Lt. Gen. Milan Lalithkumar Naidu, Vice Chief of Indian Army, has said that there are no Indian troops in Sri Lanka to assist its Army in the ongoing war.

Speaking to The Hindu at Mandapam near Rameswaram on Saturday, he said there was no truth in the allegation that the Indian Army had sent its troops.

When his attention was drawn to the recent attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in which two Indian technocrats were injured, he said whoever was there in Sri Lanka could have been “civilians.” However, he said, “some Army personnel go to Sri Lanka from time to time. They go for advice and come back.”

Asked about the series of provocative firings along the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir by Pakistani forces, Mr. Naidu said infiltration had come down. That was why more firing incidents were taking place across the border as “they” wanted to push more “people” into the Indian side. It was one technique, he said.

Asked whether the increasing influence of Pakistan-based agencies in Sri Lanka would pose threat to India, he said he didn’t think so, as the Government of Sri Lanka was very balanced. They knew what was to be done. When asked about the chances of setting up an Army battalion in the southern coast of Tamil Nadu considering the presence of the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Indian Air Force and the coast proximity to Sri Lanka, the Vice Chief said there was no such plan as of now. However, if there was a requirement in the future, the Army would consider the plan.

He was received by Colonel CP. Medappa, Station Commander, 117 battalion, Tiruchi, Commandant K. Janardhanan, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard, Mandapam, M. Tamil Mani, District Revenue Officer.

Aerial survey

Later, accompanied by Brigadier Ravi Pandadi, he made an aerial survey of the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Mr. Naidu visited the Naval air station at Uchipuli and held discussions with Commander P. Rajkumar, Station Commander, and others about the security scenario in the southern coast.

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