Tuesday, January 15, 2008

India helped countering LTTE: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Navy has praised India for its help in countering the LTTE, and said the militant group's ''backbone has been broken'' after the destruction of several rebel vessels.

''Co-operation with India has been extremely successful in countering the LTTE. Every year, the Indian Navy with the Indian Coast Guard and the Sri Lankan Navy holds four bilateral discussions. We are conducting coordinated patrols with the Indian Navy as well,'' Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda said.

''We have broken their backbone by destroying their supply vessels and floating warehouses, several war-like materials which would have allowed the Tigers to sustain this conflict,'' Karannagoda told the 'Colombo Post' newspaper.

The Navy chief asserted that the LTTE was not strong enough to sustain its fight against the government for long and that the outfit's naval power was badly weakened after several losses.

''The Navy has destroyed almost all LTTE vessels that could have assisted the Tigers in attacking the armed forces,'' he said adding, ''Within one year we have destroyed eight floating warehouses, which had carried more than 10,000 tons of war-like material''.

This included artillery, mortar, dismantled parts of three aircraft, bulletproof vehicles, underwater delivery vehicles, scuba diving sets and radar, among other things, he said.

On its part, the Sri Lankan Navy has acquired new ships and boats and is also building indigenous vessels to counter the LTTE threat, Karannagoda said.

Earlier, the LTTE warehouses were stationed off the island's coast and whenever the need arose they came up to about 300 kms from land and transferred the arms cargo on to trawlers, which brings them ashore, the Navy chief said.

He said the Navy had successfully put an end to this type of arms smuggling, severely weakening the LTTE.

Press Trust of India