Rameswaram: If reports are to be believed, the Indian Air Force has apparently set up a new radar base by way of ample precaution, following a aerial raid by LTTE rebels on the Sri Lankan Katunayake air force base at Colombo two days ago.
According to the report, the radars have been installed at the Seeniappa Darga jungle near Sundaramudaiyan village in Ramanathapuram district and pre-operation trials were in progress. The reports quote senior IAF officials as their source.
Reports also said that a team of 50 air force personnel would be posted at this base to keep a wary out for attacking aircraft launched by Tamil guerillas. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been battling decades of repression in the island nation of Sri Lanka and have been engaged in active combat with Sri Lankan forces over the last two decades.
The LTTE are apparently armed with a few Czech made Zlin Z-143 light aircraft, and also possibly a Swiss-made trainer plane, which they used to launch a surprise raid on the Sri Lankan air force (SLAF) base located at Colombo, killing at least three air force personnel and wounding many others. Reports also suggest that the LTTE may have smuggled in up to four such craft over a period of time.
While the SLAF denied that any damage was caused to its complement of MiG-27 and Israeli supplied Kfir fighters, as well as Pakistani supplied helicopters - which have been instrumental in turning the tide against LTTE guerillas in their renewed offensive against them - other reports would suggest otherwise.
It would appear that the Kfir fighters as well as the Pakistani supplied helicopters would have suffered some damage - in particular the Pakistani choppers, which may even have been destroyed. Some defence observers claim that the SLAF may well have lost up to half of its complement of fighter aircraft.
The claims are difficult to ascertain, however.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has begun round-the-clock patrolling of the seas from the Forward Observation Point (FOP) near Dhanushkodi. It is also reported that the Indian Coast Guard would also monitor the international maritime border in the Palk Straits, official sources said.