The Lanka Academic

JUNE 22, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 9, NO. 78


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Headline Summary
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
India to expand military ties with Lanka
TOI, june 23. NEW DELHI: India is likely to further bolster military supplies to Sri Lanka, alarmed as it is with the way Colombo continues to turn to China, as also Pakistan to some degree, to obtain weapon systems and platforms.

The arms supplies will be "largely" defensive in nature, in keeping with the policy to supply mainly "non-lethal" equipment to the island nation, said sources.

India believes there cannot be a "military solution" to the bloody ethnic strife in Sri Lanka, and is concomitantly pushing for a dialogue process and devolution package for the Tamils without disrupting the country’s territorial integrity.

The need for renewed political efforts was, once again, conveyed to the Mahinda Rajapakse government by the high-level delegation led by national security advisor M K Narayanan, which also included foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and defence secretary Vijay Singh, to Colombo over the weekend.

But at the same time, India cannot ignore the deep inroads being made into its own strategic backyard by China, which is providing Sri Lanka with a wide array of "cheap" arms and ammunition to bolster its ongoing battle with LTTE.

"The story of Myanmar is being repeated in Sri Lanka. China is already all over the island nation, with a flurry of arms deals, oil explorations and construction projects like the Hambantota port," said a senior official. Sources said the Narayanan delegation also expressed India’s disquiet over Sri Lanka continuing to source weapon systems in a major way from China and Pakistan. More...Discuss this story
Published: Sun Jun 22 19:29:17 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka Army chief visits battle zone, Monday, June 23, 2008. COLOMBO (Xinhua): The chief of Sri Lankan Army has visited the northern Wanni district where his troops are engaging the rebel Tamil Tiger, state television Rupavahini reported Sunday.

Sarath Fonseka's visit to the Vavuniya district on Saturday was meant to encourage soldiers who are advancing into the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) held territory, said the TV report.

The Army commander was briefed by Commander of Security Forces Headquarters Wanni Major General Jagath Jayasuriya and other senior officers during the visit.

He also gave instructions on future security measures in respective areas, specially strengthening positions in liberated areas in Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya.

The troops are now focusing on taking on the rebels in the north as the government claims that the LTTE presence has been limited to just two districts in the Northern Province.

The government's success in the military campaign was gauged by its ability to hold elections in the Eastern Province after it was liberated in July last year. Fonseka has vowed to crush the rebels as soon as possible and end their over two-decade-old armed campaign to carve out a separate state for the minority Tamil community in the island. More...
Published: Sun Jun 22 22:27:52 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's military says 2 policemen killed in roadside bomb blast
Associated Press, Sun June 22, 2008 04:23 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two Sri Lankan policemen were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in the island's east on Sunday, a day after 13 combatants died in clashes across the volatile north, the military said.

It was the latest violence in Sri Lanka - 's intensifying civil war that has seen fierce battles between troops and Tamil rebels, plus stepped-up bombings blamed on the insurgents.

The roadside bomb exploded Sunday morning in Kaludawalai village in the eastern Batticaloa district, according to a military statement.

The government captured the region last year but Tamil Tiger rebels still operate in scattered cells and occasionally ambush the army and police.

On Saturday, 11 rebels and two soldiers died in several battles across the island's restive north, in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya districts, the military statement said.

Rebel spokesman Thaya Master said he had no comment until he checked the facts with his superiors.

Encouraged by their success in the east, government forces have been trying to break into the Tigers' northern strongholds from four fronts for the few past months.

The government has said it hopes to crush the rebels and dismantle their de facto administration by the end of this year.

The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for the minority Tamils, who have been marginalized by successive governments controlled by majority Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed.
Published: Sun Jun 22 10:55:47 EDT 2008 Back to the top

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Sri Lanka 's military says 8 Tamil rebels killed in new fighting in volatile north
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