Although the Sri Lanka Security Forces completely defeated the LTTE more than a month ago, more and more weapons including sophisticated weapons hidden by Tamil Tigers still continue to be unearthed by the troops in many areas in the recently liberated Wanni as well as the east.
In the recent past, the security forces have recovered weapons that were not even with the Sri Lanka armed forces. Most of such weapons were those used by armed forces in countries, that possess nuclear power. As most of these weapons are recovered there is an increasing doubt that the now defeated Tamil Tigers had more ambitions than merely gaining a separate state in the north and east of Sri Lanka.
Top brass of the Sri Lanka security forces too are surprised after seeing these sophisticated arms and the amount of military hardware recovered so far. The main objective of the Tamil Tigers, seems to have been not only a to have a separate Eelam in the North and East of Sri Lanka but also to extend their power beyond that.
In order to find an answer as to whether this was the real objective of the Tigers the army has decided to get a total count of the LTTE military assets, how many weapons they had, varities of weapons, capabilities etc.
It is learnt that the security forces will continue to search for more weapons after they obtain further information from the surrendered LTTE cadres. The military believe that more and more sophisticated weapons would be recovered from the Wanni region and as such most of the troops deployed in the north have been assigned for this purpose.
Two weeks ago, the military unearthed a submarine from Vellamullivaikal area in the Mullaitivu district, where the final phase of the battle took place.
The 24-foot (7.2-metre) submersible had reportedly been used by the LTTE, most probably by their senior cadres, for clandestine sea movements before the LTTE was wiped out, the army said. It is said that several other Tiger submersibles had previously been found, but the latest device appeared to be the first one that was actually used.
This submarine had been hidden by the Tamil Tigers in order to enable the LTTE leaders to escape from the sea during the last phases of the battle. However, it was not clear whether this underwater craft was fully functional and also met the requirements that operational submarines need.
However, this underwater craft had been damaged when the Sri Lanka Air Force Aircraft bombed it resulting in the Tigers hiding it for repair and later use. According to the LTTE cadre, who gave the clue about this underwater craft to the military there were three more types of craft that had been buried by the LTTE in the same area during the last few month
During the Wanni operation Task Force III soldiers found a workshop that manufactured underwater submersible craft by the LTTE. It was the first time the troops had found such a workshop. Since then a large number of such craft were recovered by the troops.
Although the surrendered cadres claimed that the LTTE had tested these craft underwater in the eastern seas and that several LTTE leaders including its Sea Wing Leader Soosai had participated there was no evidence to prove it as yet.
According to experts most of the LTTE underwater craft is designed very similar to semi submersibles used by Colombian drug traffickers. Construction of these craft are incomplete (experimental level) and has not been operated even for trials. This type of craft can be detected by radars as all parts above hatch level are above water.
However, investigations are still underway to solve these unanswered questions.
Two weeks after the recovery of the underwater craft, troops on information received , recovered another sophisticated military item-,torpedoes- that are used by the prominent navies in the world.
Two torpedoes, each 26 ft in length and 5 ft 7 inches in circumference neatly wrapped in polythene was recovered by the troops in Puthukudiyiruppu. The torpedo’s launcher of 28 ft in length and 5 ft 10 inch in circumference had also been buried by Tamil Tigers in the vicinity to be used at an appropriate time.
The manner the torpedoes with their launcher had been safely kept underground in four different pits of about 12 ft in depth affirms the fact that Tigers were patiently marking time for an attack on a ship or any other vessel sailing in the seas. Troops found long bombs that could be exploded underwater when the vessel hits them from four different areas in the same location. One of the warheads of a torpedo had been kept separately dismantled.
During the same search, Task Force-8 troops were able to find a complete 130 mm artillery gun sans wheels, probably brought there for some clandestine missions.
Troops on Wanni Operation earlier recovered three more 130 mm barrels from the west of Puthukudiyiruppu and the northeast of Visvamadu, six 130 mm artillery guns from Puthukudiyiruppu, Anandapuram, and Mullaitivu, including two guns destroyed by the LTTE in Vellamullivaikkal.
These are some of the recent recoveries from the LTTE and accordingly more and more weapons would be unearthed after further information is received from the surrendered or the captured LTTE members by the relevant state authorities.
According to experts, if the LTTE had opportunity to drag the so called Ceasefire Agreement and did not have a war situation for at least another one year then the security forces would have had to face a completely different and very difficult situation. This is because the LTTE at that time was engaged in purchasing and importing arms and ammunition to fight against the government armed forces. If the government security forces did not carry out the war properly, by this time the LTTE could have been able to keep what they had obtained almost three years back.
Although the LTTE had enough weapons and ammunition with them they continued to purchase and smuggled weapons into the country by various means. If they had been able to unload the ten ships with military hardware, which were destroyed by the Sri Lanka Navy in the deep seas, it could have been a completely different scenario that the government armed forces would have had to face.
The LTTE could not have brought or purchased weapons and other military hardware or achieved their goal without help from foreign powers. Definitely there will be at least more than one power from whom the LTTE had received help to achieve their purpose. The government should launch a full investigation to find out who assisted the LTTE to strengthen themselves to the extent they did.
Considering these facts it is now clear that the LTTE had its own undisclosed agenda to fight against the government forces not only to capture the north and east and form a separate Tamil Eelam as mentioned in their propaganda campaign but it appears that it had a wider ambition. If that was so then if the LTTE succeeded what would have been their next step after they capture the north and east of the country?
SL to increase defence ties with France
Commander of the French Joint Forces in Indian Ocean Region Vice Admiral Gerard Valin, who was on an official visit in Sri Lanka met top defence officials to increase the defense ties between the two nations.
His arrival on June 27 on board the supply ship ‘BCR Var’ was a good -will visit, Vice Admiral Valin first met Chief of Defence Staff Donald Perera and exchanged views concerning the two nations, the armed forces and the current situation in the north and east.
Later he called on Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka on Monday at the Army Headquarters, Colombo.
The Senior French Naval Commander, was accompanied by French Ambassador Michel Lummaux during his meeting with General Sarath Fonseka and exchanged views with regard to security and matters of bilateral interest.
The Army Commander gave a detailed account on the recently concluded Wanni humanitarian operations that brought total defeat to LTTE terrorism.
On the same day the visiting Vice Admiral Valin met Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda at the Naval Headquarters in Colombo.
The two officials exchanged views with regard to security and matters of bilateral interest. Admiral Karannagoda gave a detailed account of the Sri Lanka Navy’s role in the successfully concluded war on terror.
The commanding officer of the French Naval Ship ‘BCR VAR’ Captain Frederic Babin-Chevage also present at the occasion.
Later on the day, Admiral Karannagoda held a reception to the visiting French Vice Admiral at the Navy Headquarters.
Vice Admiral Valin had arrived in Sri Lanka on board the supply ship ‘BCR VAR’ When the ship left Colombo with two officers of the Sri Lanka Navy, who were to learn and experience the life on a French Naval ship. They will stay on board till the ship reaches its next port of call, Djibouti in Somalia. This exercise is expected to strengthen the ties and broaden cooperation between the two Navies further.
Who will be the next CDS ?
With Parliament last week enacting the post of Chief of Defence (CDS) giving powers to the post, defence circles are now waiting to see who will be the next CDS of the country’s defence forces.
Although it is claimed that that more powers had been given to the CDS post, indirectly it gives additional powers to the Defence Ministry Secretary to control all the armed forces in the country. Some factions state that it indirectly can be called the post of the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the country.
With the introduction of the new Act, the CDS position, which was just an appointment earlier gets legal status and will function as the head of the country’s armed forces. This was a part of the government’s 10-year re -organization plan re-organization of the armed forces.
The section (2) of the Chief of Defence Staff Act states that: “The Chief of Defence Staff shall function under the direction, supervision and control of the Secretary to the Ministry of the Minister in charge of the subject of Defence.”
However, the next question is who will be the next CDS after the retirement of current CDS Donald Perera. Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka is widely tipped to take over the new position of CDS. However, Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda too is there. The chances for Air Force Chief Roshan Goonetilake is rather less.
A chief of defence staff may be appointed from among the persons presently serving as commander of the army, commander of the navy or commander of the air force. This officer will relinquish his position as commander to take up position of CDS. But as the Commander-in-Chief President has the full authorities to appoint a person from these three officers. Army Chief General Fonseka’s term is expected to end December this year, while Navy Chief Admiral Karannagoda’s term is expected to end November this year in their positions in respective forces. According to the new CDS Act the CDS shall hold office for a term of two years, subject to the pleasure of the president, and be eligible to be reappointed for one more term of two years. The act also allows for the establishment of a committee of the chief of defence staff comprising the CDS and commanders of the army, navy and air force.
Among the other powers to the position are;
- To assist the minister in providing for the strategic direction of the armed forces
- To develop a doctrine for the joint employment of armed forces
- To facilitate the preparation of strategic plans for the armed forces
- To coordinate matters in respect of the functions relating tointelligence as between the armed forces
- To undertake assessments to determine the capabilities of thearmed forces in comparison with those of their potential adversa ries
- To facilitate the preparation of operational plans for the armedforces and to coordinate the implementation of same as between
the armed forces
- To prepare and review contingency plans relating to the armed forces
- To advise the minister on critical deficiencies and strengths in meeting national security objectives and in ensuring conformity with policy
- To advise the minister on the extent to which the programmes, recommendations and budget proposals of the armed forces for a fiscal year conform to the priorities established in relation to strategic plans
- To advise the minister on the extent to which the major programmes and policies of the armed forces relating to manpower and equipment conform to strategic plans
- To assess military requirements as against the proposed defence procurement plans and to advise the ministry accordingly
- To facilitate the formulation of policies for peace-keeping operations by the armed forces
- To do all such other things as are required or are necessary for the implementation of the above.