But, observers lament that even at
this late stage, no initiatives are being made to even open Lankan
diplomatic consulates in these states to harness such goodwill and build
on them for mutual benefit, except for a few forays to emulate the
silicon valley of Karnataka. Instead, Foreign Minister Rohitha
Bogollagama is seen visiting far away places like Brazil, spending
millions of rupees almost on a daily basis, with questionable benefit to
the country. The only beneficiaries, without any doubt, are him and his
family holidaying world over in maximum comfort at the expense of the
poor tax payer. While lobbying is an art the world over to correctly
espouse one’s case, we are not even doing that at our doorstep in
southern India, where it is needed the most to counteract the most
ruthless terror outfit in the world
Lankan DPL offensives woefully lacking where it is needed most
As the noose tightened round more crucial LTTE held positions in the
North this week, almost by cue its Tamil Nadu proxies raised their
decibel levels in trying to get the Indian Government to halt the Sri
Lankan military drive once again, as was done in 1987.
By Tuesday, an all-party meeting summoned by the state’s ruling DMK
headed by Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi issued a blunt warning to
the Central Government that if there is no halt to the war and there is
no ceasefire within two weeks, 39 MPs from the state would resign. On
the same day, Mr. Karunannidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, submitted her
resignation saying that it was for the party to take “an appropriate
decision at the appropriate time.” This so-called all-party meeting was,
however held without the Chief Opposition Party AIADMK led by
Jayalalitha and its allies MDMK, the BJP and DMDK as they all chose to
Though it is very unlikely that India would intervene in the Lankan
matter, as it hastily did in 1987; having burnt its fingers badly,
losing as much as 1200 of its peace keepers sent here, we should also
keep in mind the political realities there with Premier Manmohan Singh
led coalition government needing to call parliamentary elections by May
next year. Dr Singh’s ruling United Progressive Alliance is already
somewhat shaky, with the Left having withdrawn their support after the
nuclear deal with the US and the Samajawadi Party, which voted for the
government on the same issue, sending conflicting signals of its
The current fallout could have been mitigated to a great extent;
according to India watchers, had Sri Lanka harnessed the tremendous
goodwill towards us, especially in the rest of South India, ignored by
successive governments in Colombo up to now. Though without doubt, we
have been having much interaction with Tamils throughout history, ties
with other Dravidian races there had been no less, with most castes here
being rooted there. So much so, even some of the most prominent families
here like the Jayewardenes and Bandaranaikes have proven traceable roots
to South India.
People of Kerala readily identify with Sinhalese, with many direct blood
decedents here even to this day. The identified Telegu community from
Andra Pradesh alone is said to number more than 200,000 in Sri Lanka.
Similarly, historic links with people of Karnataka are no less.
But, observers lament that even at this late stage, no initiatives are
being made to even open Lankan diplomatic consulates in these states to
harness such goodwill and build on them for mutual benefit, except for a
few forays to emulate the silicon valley of Karnataka. Instead, Foreign
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama is seen visiting far away places like
Brazil, spending millions of rupees almost on a daily basis, with
questionable benefit to the country. The only beneficiaries, without any
doubt, are him and his family holidaying world over in maximum comfort
at the expense of the poor tax payer. While lobbying is an art the world
over to correctly espouse one’s case, we are not even doing that at our
doorstep in southern India, where it is needed the most to counteract
the most ruthless terror outfit in the world.
True we need to watch our backs, especially where the West is concerned,
despite all their homilies about fighting terror, but even as the 1987
“parippu” drop revealed, it is not the White House or the Whitehall that
call the shots in the region. So, we better learn very quickly to
harness goodwill across the Palk Strait, better than the terrorists.
There were no blitzkriegs to take Kilinochchi town, understandably this
week, with monsoon rains bringing untold misery to frontline soldiers
without any roof over their heads. Obviously, nothing like tents or
canopies can be erected in the frontlines, as that would only give away
your position to the enemy, so often in knee-deep water those poor
soldiers are risking their life and limb for the country in hastily dug
up trenches. As we said last week, even tractors were finding it
extremely difficult to manage the terrain in supplying thousands of
troops spread through out the northern front and evacuating the wounded.
Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka too is out of the country these
days, believed to be on a short private visit to the US.
At the same time, the army was not resting either. By Friday, troops had
virtually cut off Nachchikudah, having surrounded it from all sides
except some gaps to the sea. For the LTTE now, Nachchikudah is all but
lost with its supply lines cut off. Cadres left to hold it will now have
to either starve to death or make a run for it, hoping to escape by sea.
The Task Force 1 or the 58 Division led by Brig Shavendra Silva, which
earlier by-passed Nachchikudah to the west of A-32 Hi-way and advanced
northward; also completed the capture of Vannerikulam and Manniyankulam
by Thursday this week, having systematically surrounded the towns in the
past few weeks. Its units are now only some 18 kilometres from Pooneryn
on the A-32. The capture of the remaining stretch to Pooneryn, would
more or less seal the Northwestern coast to Tiger smuggling operations
The 58-3 brigade commanded by Col. Suraj Bansajayah captured the A-32
some eight kilometers north of Nachchikudah under the leadership of Lt.
Col. Vajira Welagedera.
Small commando teams operating further northeast behind enemy lines in
the Valappadi region, last week blew up yet another jeep carrying a
Tiger leader, accompanied by four trail bike outriders. The target had
been the vehicle of Deputy Sea Tiger leader Chelian.
At Oddusudan too, a bus carrying Tiger cadres was also targeted killing
five of them.
The fourth brigade added to the 57 Division two weeks ago to strengthen
its eastern flank and has taken out as many as 30 LTTE vehicles and a
motorcycle on the A-9 towards Mankulam bringing Tiger traffic to a halt
on this stretch.
Despite weather affecting its mobility, the 57 Division did make much
use of small team operations during the week. The Bravo Company and
Charlie Company in particular of the 4th Sinha regiment had bagged more
than a dozen or so Tiger cadres on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday,
east of Akkarayankulam, troops of the Sinha regiment who were earlier
the target of gas attacks, were this time the target of Tiger psy-ops,
using loud hailers to warn them of certain death, but their plan to
launch waves of attacks on troops of this regiment from the north, were
halted in their tracks by multi-barrel barrages.
Last Monday, troops of 13 Gajaba, who targeted areas surrounding the
Akkarayankulam bund killed Tiger leaders identified as Kadalmaran and
Pulli. The refusal of his men to retrieve the body of Kadalmaran, had
led to Tiger Leader Theepan admonishing them on his radio.
While all attention of the LTTE was concentrated on spoiling the army
advance on Kilinochchi, a limited operation engineered by Jaffna
Commander Maj Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri in the Averikadu area, just three
kilometers north of Tiger held Kilali, caused so much panic among Tigers
that it recalled units earlier withdrawn from Jaffna front and
redeployed to halt the advance on Kilinochchi, along with leaders like
Theepan and Rawland. The diversion caught the Tigers by total surprise,
after eight-man small teams infiltrated the Tiger forward defence lines
up to 200 metres on Tuesday (14) without their knowledge under the cover
of heavy rain. These teams, supplemented by more infiltrations the
following day, directed an assault on Tiger bunker positions calling in
Tank fire support. By 5:30 a.m. on Thursday. the actual assault on
bunkers began, thus forcing Tigers to recall their units into the
region, fearing the army would break through their defences. Finally,
after beating back three waves of Tiger reinforcements, the troops
returned to their positions in the afternoon. Having killed two of their
unit leaders identified as Kanyan and Isaiman along with 25 cadres and
causing injury to at least 40 others, the troops’ own casualties were
listed as three killed, nine with sizeable injuries and 16 with minor
injuries. Most of the troop casualties were from mortar and artillery
Similarly, last Sunday, a small team from 8th Gajaba infiltrated Tiger
positions at Nagarkovil and decimated a small camp at about 4:00 a.m,
killing up to ten Tiger cadres before withdrawing.