Special Correspondent

Seeks adequate facilities for the Navy and the Coast Guard

Chief Minister conveys his opposition in a letter to the Prime Minister

Seeks strengthening of security on International Maritime Boundary Line

CHENNAI: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Saturday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to accede to Sri Lanka’s request for joint patrolling of the Palk Strait by Indian and Sri Lankan navies.

Responding to reports that Sri Lanka had again raised the issue of joint patrolling during the recent discussions between External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollogama, Mr. Karunanidhi, in a letter to Dr. Singh, said he had repeatedly been emphasising the need for strengthening security on the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) by providing adequate facilities and infrastructure to the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard.

“The issue of joint patrolling [was] once discussed and did not find favour with our government owing to a number of reasons,” he said. The then Chief Secretary and other senior officials of the State had discussed at length the reasons with the National Security Advisor (M.K. Narayanan).

Mr. Karunanidhi said Mr. Narayanan, at a meeting with him, had confirmed that adequate steps were being taken to provide the Navy and the Coast Guard with the best equipment and other infrastructure.

“I shall be grateful if this is done urgently,” he said.

He urged the Prime Minister not to consider the request of the Sri Lankan government and “any other sources” for joint patrolling.

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