Sri Lanka scrapped a 200 million dollar ammunition order from China following the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels two months ago, a senior military official said Wednesday.
General Sarath Fonseka said the order was cancelled because there was no need to stock ammunition for heavy guns after routing the leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May.
“We had ordered about 200 million dollars of heavy ammunition from China,” Fonseka told local reporters after taking office as the new chief of defence staff. “There is no need for such ammunition any more.”
He said the order would have been enough for three to four months of use — based on the intensity of the final stages of the conflict.
Sri Lanka relied heavily on China and Pakistan for mortar bombs and ammunition for multi-barrel rocket launchers in the battle against the Tigers.
The general did not say if any deals with Pakistan had been cancelled.
Fonseka, who is credited with crushing the LTTE, is now heading a new post formulating strategy and advising the government on weapons procurement.
But, despite the end of nearly four decades of fighting with the Tamil Tigers, the military has announced plans to recruit another 40,000 to 50,000 troops within a year.
The military had already enlisted 80,000 troops in the past two years, boosting army numbers to 200,000.
In the past three years, the army placed its losses at about 6,200 killed and nearly 30,000 wounded. The military said it killed 22,000 Tiger rebels during the same period.
Fonseka said India was sending around 500 de-miners to clear the former rebel-held areas while 800 former Tamil Tiger rebels who defected to the government side five years ago had formally been absorbed into the army.