Indian waters not safe, pirates helped by some forces: Antony

Last Updated 08 February 2011, 15:06 IST

"Our waters are not safe like before. There are some other forces helping them (pirates). We cannot remain mere spectators," he said, adding the forces are yet to be identified.

The incidents point that the country's coasts were not protected and "if we are not vigilant, danger would not be far behind", he said while inaugurating Bharat Electrical Limited's Product Support Centre at KINFRA Hi Tech Park at nearby Kalamassery.

Antony said Navy and Coast Guard would step up their surveillance along the Kerala-Lakshadweep-Tamil Nadu coast in the wake of arrest of pirates off Lakshadweep islands.

More Naval and Coast Guard vessels and aircraft would be deployed to increase surveillance, he said.

In the last one month, two vessels of the pirates had been seized in joint operations by the Navy and Coast Guard and last year 14 ships were attacked by pirates near the 8 Degree Channel in Lakshadweep.

Later talking to reporters, Antony said India had stated that UN should provide the lead in combating piracy.

On the arrest of some suspected Pakistan and Iranian nationals from a fishing vessel a few months ago near Lakshadweep, he said probe was still on.

Asked about the recent killing of a youth in Kashmir by security forces, he said it was 'unfortunate' and the army had ordered an enquiry. It was a case of mistaken identity, he said.

On the suicide by the uncle of Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the NSG commando who was killed during the Mumbai terror attacks, he said it was a very 'painful' incident.

The former Kerala chief minister refused to take any questions on politics saying, "No Politics, no masala."

Navy also provides a helping hand to fishermen who are in distress when at sea, he said.

The BEL's centre had been set up to provide waterfront support for the Southern Naval Command here and its to support outsourcing of Naval System projects to units of KELTRON.

Antony said the project, the foundation stone of which was laid in 2008 by him, could be completed in a record time, thanks to the support of the state government.

The Centre, state, local bodies had all come together to see the project became a reality, he said.

Secretary Defence Production R K Singh said though the employment opportunities would be limited now at the unit, more jobs would be created by expanding it once it become profitable and productive.

The unit is also envisaged to coordinate equipment supply and support to the Air Defence Ship Project at Cochin Shipyard Limited and to support Sonar Development Projects at the National Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Kochi, a DRDO lab, BEL CMD Aswani Kumar Datt said.

BEL is already providing waterfront support to the Indian Navy at Mumbai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam. The Kochi centre would further strengthen the PSU's ability to support Naval products and systems, officials said.

The BEL centre is the fifth defence related project coming to Kerala since 2006.

(Published 08 February 2011, 15:06 IST)

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