RAMANATHAPURAM: Close on the heels of the arrest of suspected members of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealem and seizure of ball bearings, the Navy and Coast Guard have stepped up vigil along the coast off Rameswaram.
Security agencies say that the route from Rameswaram to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka is often used by illegal infiltrators from Sri Lanka to transport smuggled goods.
The recent arrest of three smugglers from Talaimannar by the Naval Detachment based at Rameswaram is one of the reasons for the security agencies to toughen their stand against intrusion.
All units of the Navy, Coast Guard and Customs, operating along the coast of Gulf of Mannar, Palk Straits and International Maritime Boundary Line, have been alerted following the arrest made by `Q' branch police.
Commodore Phillip Van Haltren, Naval Officer in-charge of Tamil Nadu, said that besides the Coast Guard ships, Naval ships with powerful weapons had been deployed at "strategic areas."
A forward observation point (FOP) had been established at Mukuntharayarchathiram near Dhanushkodi.
He said that strict action would be taken against those trying to enter the Indian waters. The Navy had already studied the situation to check smuggling. Surveillance would be maintained round-the-clock at various landing centres.
Commander S. Mukherji, Area Commander (South), said that fishermen from Rameswaram had been instructed to carry licences and entry permits while fishing.
Commodore Haltren said that he personally inspected "strategic locations" and the operation of Naval detachments along the coast and the Naval Air Station at Uchipuli.