The government on Tuesday decided to mobilise additional air assets in the south and step up surveillance following fears that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam could carry out aerial attacks on Indian nuclear facilities.
The decision to move more fighters and surveillance systems to the south was taken at a high-level meeting in Delhi chaired by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, a day after Sri Lanka said there was a possibility of LTTE conducting air attacks, sources said.
The hour-long meeting was attended by Defence Minister A K Antony, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal F H Major and Chief of Naval Staff Sureesh Mehta.
The meeting also decided to intensify the vigil by naval warships deployed in the Indian Ocean, particularly using Airborne Early Warning aircraft.
The meeting took stock of the defence preparedness of the country in view of the fear, they said.
The meeting came after Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona said there was a possibility of LTTE carrying out airstrikes on nuclear installations in India, besides shipping interests in the Indian Ocean.
The Tamil rebels had recently carried out air attacks at Sri Lankan airports and air bases.
"There is an air threat which has a range of 200-300 nautical miles and this range brings within it not only cities within Sri Lanka, shipping in Indian Ocean, but also the nuclear installations of India," Kohona said.
Noting that LTTE is a terrorist organisation that has not hesitated in assassinating former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Kohona said, "So the possibility is always there." Going into a corrective mode, Sri Lanka on Tuesday said it did not consider that LTTE could pose an aerial threat to India.
Military spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said the authorities have not even discussed the possibility of the Tamil Tiger rebels using their aircraft to bomb any location in India.
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