Sri Lanka war escalates after ’silencing India factor’

October 31st, 2008 - 3:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Oct 31 (IANS) “Silencing the Indian factor” was a “tower of strength” for advancing troops to accomplish their task of marching into the Tamil Tiger rebels’ “politico-administrative capital” of Kilinochchi in Sri Lanka’s north, a media report said here Friday.Ranil Wijayapala in his weekly defence column in the state-run Daily News said it was significant that “all cries by the Tamil Nadu politicians went silent soon after the visit of Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa’s visit to India”.

He said many Tamil Nadu politicians, including its Chief Minister K. Karunanidhi, “have changed their stance” regarding Sri Lanka following the visit by Rajapaksa to brief the Indian government “on the present status of the Tamil civilians entrapped in Wanni and the steps taken by the government to fulfil their basic needs”.

“The silencing of the Indian factor after effectively convincing them of the true picture of the Sri Lankan situation, though the situation had no major effect on the military operations conducted by the security forces, was a tower of strength for the troops now engaged in the military operations in Wanni since there was an ambiguity on their part about the future of the military operations,” Wijayapala said in his column.

He said that the entire international community has understood the fact that the campaigns by Tamil Nadu politicians sympathetic to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) “was one of the last options tried by the LTTE to stop their humiliating defeat in face of the military thrust on them in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu”.

“If there were any barriers for the troops, whether it was political pressure, international pressure or ground obstacles, the situation has now been created for them to reach their objective - the defeat of the LTTE in their strongholds in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu,” Wijayapala said in his column.

He attributes the LTTE’s latest air raid targeting a military camp in the northwestern Mannar district and capital Colombo Tuesday night to their abortive attempt to get Indian support to halt the military campaign.

“After their failed attempt to divert Indian support to stop the military thrust on them in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, the Tiger outfit resorted to the most popular tactic to draw attention towards them once again by deploying their light aircraft to launch air raids,” Wijayapala said.

Going by the military claims, the LTTE this time has deployed only one aircraft, which had been in the air for well over one hour, carrying out two air raids before safely returning to their hideout in Wanni.

According to Wijayapala, the powerful cameras installed at the Colombo harbour “had videoed the movements of this aircraft which was flying at a low altitude so that radars cannot easily detect it and troops on the ground could not direct their anti-aircraft guns towards it as it was flying so low”.

“The F-7 interceptors which were airborne from Katunayake could not take the target due to technical reasons. According to experts, the LTTE aircraft had arrived towards Colombo covering engines with armour plates so that the heat seeking missile system could not lock the target,” he said.

Commenting on the progress on the ground, he said the government troops inflicted “a major blow” to the Tamil Tiger rebels Thursday by “completely capturing” the rebels’ last major naval stronghold in the western coastal belt, Nachchikkuda, and an adjoining village, Jeyapuram, in the west of Kilinochchi.

“With the capture of Nachchikuda, the LTTE is facing severe difficulties in their logistics movements centered around Valaipadu. Commando troops are posing a major threat to the LTTE cadres operating there on a frequent basis targeting their vehicles and other logistics movements,” Wijayapala said, indicting that the rebels are slowly losing their grip of Kilinochchi.

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