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Fonseka spoke of India threat: Rajapaksa

[Express Buzz, Friday, 19 March 2010 08:53 No Comment]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an interview said that post-LTTE defeat, Army Commander Sarath Fonseka had asked army strength to be increased by three lakh on plea that the island nation faced military threat from India.

“Do you know he (Fonseka) wanted to increase the size of the army to 450,000?” the President said in an interview to the Straight Times of Singapore on Thursday.

“He said there are external threats. So I asked, who he was talking about? And he said, ‘India’. So what can 450,000 do against 2.5 million (India’s armed forces strength)? I told him, let me worry about external forces,” Rajapaksa said.

Asked if Rajapaksa still believed that Fonseka was planning a military coup, he said: “There was something going on. I cannot discuss details as inquiries and legal proceedings are on.”

On the possibility of a presidential pardon, Rajapaksa said that military discipline would be adversely affected if Fonseka was pardoned. “What about the court martial of other officers? What can I do! This is the British law. They gave it to India and us. Fonseka himself put thousands of soldiers under court martial. At one time the figure was 8,500. I shouted at him and I had to release them,” the President said.

Asked about Tamil minorities’ demand for federal structure, Rajapaksa said: “Federalism is a dirty word in Sri Lanka. It is linked so much with separation. If I want to leave politics and go home, the best way is to talk of federalism. They won’t accept me after that.”

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