Thursday, June 5, 2008

India's naval surveillance big help - FM

India's maritime "surveillance" has "helped" Sri Lanka in "a big way" in facing the challenge from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told The Hindu that his country would continue to "advocate" that the international community take steps to dry up the sources of funding and other forms of support for the LTTE.

Outlining Sri Lanka's diplomatic offensive in East Asia, Bogollagama, who was here to attend the 'Shangri-La Dialogue,' cited Australia for its efforts in moving against suspected pro-LTTE fund-raisers and front-men.

Asked whether the LTTE's nucleus still remained intact, he said external assistance was needed to prevent "the supply of energy" to this core particle. While Canada, the United States, India, the United Kingdom, and the European Union had already proscribed the LTTE, Sri Lanka would not relent in its campaign for further actions by the international community.

"The Navies of India and Sri Lanka are cooperating to the extent at which the interests of both countries are safeguarded vis-a-vis the threat that can emanate from the [maritime] movement of terrorists led by the LTTE." He would not, however, describe this naval cooperation in any politically-sensitive terminology.

Noting that Sri Lanka's huge engagement with China as "true friends" was not driven by a specific LTTE-dimension, he said "the fact is that we have China, India, Pakistan, and other friends who have helped us in counter-terrorism." Bogollagama also wanted urgent action by some key countries, whose local legislations, in his view, were already adequate for a "comprehensive" crackdown on the LTTE's front organisations.

Looking beyond the challenges of the LTTE and its "floating arsenals," Mr. Bogollagama said the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, which New Delhi had already launched as an operational exercise, "is a sign of vital cooperation" among the littoral states, including Sri Lanka.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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