Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Pakistani Arms Enabled Lanka Defeat of LTTE
President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka celebrated victory Tuesday after defeating the LTTE's 25-year long and bloody insurgency against the Lankan government. LTTE terrorists' main contribution to the world of terror is their invention of the dreaded explosives belt that unleashed the scourge of world-wide suicide bombings.
Initially trained and supported by Raw, the Indian intelligence agency, in the 1980s, the Tamil Tigers met their bloody end at the hands of Lankan military using arms manufactured and supplied by Pakistan.
Alarmed by reports of Pakistani arms supplies to Sri Lanka in 2008, India said it wanted Sri Lanka to treat Tamils with dignity and also voiced concern that Colombo’s arms purchases may upset New Delhi’s “pre-eminent position” in South Asia. “We are facing a situation where the ceasefire (in Sri Lanka) could collapse. This could lead to a flashpoint,” National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said while delivering the 25th Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal memorial lecture.
India refused to supply what it considered "offensive weapons" to Sri Lanka and opposed any military solution of the "ethnic conflict" while urging Colombo to devolve autonomy to the minorities.
According the News quoting reliable sources in Pakistan, military cooperation between Sri Lanka and Pakistan has grown significantly in recent years as Islamabad, unlike New Delhi, has had no problems supplying Sri Lanka's army state-of-the-art weaponry to accelerate its counter-insurgency operations against the LTTE which finally ended with the killing of the most wanted Tamil guerrilla fighter Vellupillai Prabhakaran. The sources say it was exactly a year ago in the first week of May 2008 that Sri Lankan Army Chief General Fonseka came to Pakistan with his shopping list of high tech arms for the Lankan armed forces, who were engaged in an intense battle with the Tamil Tiger rebels at the time.
After Fonseca's visit, Pakistan sold 22 Al-Khalid tanks to Sri Lanka in a deal worth over US$100 million. Sri Lanka also purchased Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System (MBRLS), cluster bombs, deep penetration bombs and rockets and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from Pakistan, according to various reports. In fact, Sri Lanka, along with some Middle Eastern nations, has now become one of the largest buyers of Pakistani arms in the last few years.
In a July 2008 interview with Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Major General Mohammad Farooq, Director General of the Defense Export Promotion Organization, indicated that collaboration with the United States had increased in manufacturing armored personnel carriers "with transfer of technology". There have been unconfirmed reports that Pakistan is manufacturing Humvees for the US military in Afghanistan. General Farooq also claimed that Pakistan's defense exports have tripled to around $300 million because of the quality of its ammunition, anti-tank guided missiles, rocket launchers and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. He said exports to South Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries had increased significantly.
On Jan 19, 2009, in a meeting between Pakistani Defense Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Syed Athar Ali and his visiting Lankan counterpart Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the brother of Sri Lankan president, in Rawalpindi, an agreement was reached to enhance cooperation in military training, exercises and intelligence sharing regarding terrorism. The agreement came amidst Sri Lankan media reports that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pilots had participated in several successful air strikes against LTTE military bases in August 2008. These reports further claimed that a highly trained group of the Pakistani armed forces officers is posted in Colombo to guide the Sri Lankan security forces in their counter-insurgency operations against the Tamil Tigers.
Back in 2000, when LTTE offensive code-named "Operation Ceaseless Waves" overran Sri Lankan military positions in the north and captured the Elephant Pass Base and entered Jaffna, the Sri Lankans received Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System (MBRLS) and other high tech weaponry from Pakistan on short notice.
The MBRLS and weapons and ammunition, including artillery shells and multi-barrel rocket launchers, were airlifted in an emergency operation from Karachi to Colombo in May 2000. Later, in 2006, the Sri Lankan authorities had again sought Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System (MBRLS) and other advanced weapons from Pakistan when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Pakistan in March 2006 along with an 80-member delegation that included some high ranking military officials. During his talks with the Pakistani leaders, the Sri Lankan President had sought military help from Islamabad to effectively put an end to the LTTE separatist movement.
Indian analyst and former RAW chief B. Raman recently summed up India's geopolitical stance toward Sri Lamka in the following words: "India's interest in the island is partly emotional and partly strategic.The emotional interest arises from the fact that India has a large Tamil population in Tamil Nadu, a southern province, who have ethnically and linguistically much in common with the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Any policies of the Government of Sri Lanka, which affect the Sri Lankan Tamils, have an echo in Tamil Nadu. Hence, the close Indian interest in the problems and the well-being of the Sri Lankan Tamils. Strategically, the Sri Lankan Government has been cultivating China and Pakistan to keep India in check. It has good political and economic relations with China. It has invited China to construct a modern port in Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka. It has invited the Chinese to help it in gas exploration in areas which are close to India. Similarly, there is a growing military-military relationship between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which worries India."
What has happened in Sri Lanka this week is India's moment of truth, as B.Raman puts it. Sri Lanka has triumphed over LTTE terrorists in spite of India, not because of it. Pakistan, along with China, has clearly played a key role as Sri Lanka's main arms supplier and trainer in ensuring LTTE's defeat, and India is clearly not happy with how the events played out leading to Sri Lanka's win. This new reality highlights the importance of Pakistan as a regional player in South Asia and upsets what India's national security adviser called New Delhi's "pre-eminent Position" in the region.
How Sri Lanka's Rebels Build a Suicide Bomber
India Worried By Sri Lanka's Arms Buying
Pakistan's Defense Industry
War's End in Sri Lanka
Pakistan's Crucial Role in Death of Tamil Tigers
"Loose NBCs" in Pakistan
America's Defense Focus on Counter-insurgency
Sri Lanka: India's Moment of Truth