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Managing India was key to victory against LTTE: Gotabaya

[Hindu, Tuesday, 31 May 2011 19:44 No Comment]

One key factor that assured the success of the war against the LTTE that ended in May 2009 was “the success in managing…international pressures”, particularly India, said Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa here on Tuesday.

Recalling an instance when India had interfered to reverse gains made by the Army, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that in 1987, the enormously successful Vadamarachchi Operations had pushed the LTTE to the brink of defeat. “However, these operations could not be sustained because the Indian government intervened. The primary problem in 1987 was that the relationship between the two countries had not been managed very effectively,” he said.

But in the final phase of the war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa “went out of his way” to keep New Delhi briefed about all the developments. “He understood that while other countries could mount pressure on us through diplomatic channels or economic means, only India could influence the military campaign,” he said. India was managed by establishing “clear communications line” at the very highest level, said Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The misconception among the international community on human rights excesses and related issues was because Sri Lanka “is a small country with limited resources. It was not possible for us to give the management of non-critical foreign opinion the same level of attention we gave India and other key nations”, he said.

Delivering the keynote address at a seminar, “Defeating Terrorism-The Sri Lankan Experience”, organised by the Sri Lanka Army, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa listed clarity and backing of the political leadership, stability of the government, popular support for the war, increasing the number of personnel in the armed forces and the formalising of the Civil Defence Force among the other key reasons for eradicating LTTE from Sri Lanka.

“At a time when so many countries the world over are facing the problems posed by domestic and international terrorism, we believe that sharing the lessons learnt from the Sri Lankan experience in combating terrorist tactics, providing humanitarian assistance and dealing with political and international factors is important. It is our earnest hope that these lessons will help our friends and allies in the international community defeat international terrorism,” he said.

Calling for a global alliance against terrorism, Sri Lanka’s Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya said only such an alliance could succeed. He encouraged countries facing terrorism challenges to take them head on.

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