Sunday, December 6, 2009

End of global LTTE network imminent - Prof. Rohan Gunaratna

In an exclusive interview with the `Sunday Observer’, Prof. Rohan Gunaratna, Head, International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore focuses on efforts to dismantle the LTTE’s international network and argues the case for reaching out to LTTE leaders and cadres living overseas to obtain their support for rebuilding the Nation. An author of several books on Sri Lanka he is constantly sought after by foreign States during investigations for his expert knowledge on LTTE international affairs. When the LTTE ship “MV Princess Easwary”/”MV Ocean Lady” was detained in Vancouver in October 2009, Professor Gunaratna was appointed by the Government of Canada to provide advice on the origins of the ship.

Q: The Government today announced the seizing of three ships owned and operated by the LTTE leader Tharmalingam Shanmugam Kumaran alias Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) who is now in State custody. What is the background to this development?

A: The Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa understood that even if the LTTE is defeated in Sri Lanka, peace is not sustainable unless Sri Lanka dismantles the LTTE infrastructure overseas. Sri Lanka faces a risk of terrorism every day as long as the LTTE infrastructure is intact and the LTTE remains active outside Sri Lanka. As such, the Sri Lankan government worked with their foreign counterparts building platforms to monitor, detect and disrupt LTTE cells overseas that posed a threat to national security.

Even before Prabhakaran was killed, working with a small team of specialists, the Defence Secretary masterminded the operation to bring home KP, the designated successor to Prabhakaran. Since then, the Sri Lankan government has adopted a pragmatic approach of working with both KP and former LTTE leaders to abandon the LTTE’s violent ideology and build long- term peace.

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