Reported LTTE Missile Testing And The Army Chief's Assertions About The Ceasefire !

Periscope-Global Sinhala Village For LankaWeb

While it has been reported that The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have tested a new short range missile from an LTTE held Kilinochchi base 328 Kilometers away from capital Colombo on 30 January. The Reports from the Armed forces proclaim with great confidence that " the Ceasefire will continue" and short of being bifurcated news reporting, somewhere the lines seem to have got crossed as it appears somewhat ludicrous that there can be a ceasefire synonymous with the testing of missiles by the rebels and exactly the point the President has been trying to stress in recent times that the now defunct Administration has not paid sufficient attention to the priorities concerning defence and the leeway given to the LTTE.

Reliable Military sources have reported that the missile had been tested in Kent Farm, Nedunkeni, forty miles away from the launching pad with intense firepower making a crater of about 25 meters in circumference and further reported by the same Military sources that during the LTTE missile test operation on the day in question,January 30th 2004, all roads in the area had been closed and residents were forced in doors. Short of announcing this shocking revelation to the Nation there has been little or nothing done officially to confront the LTTE and demand what right they had to violate the ceasefire as it would seem the logical response to an aberration as well as a violation by the terrorists who go about proclaiming their dedication to uphold the ceasefire unless by some unknown bewildering concept or anomaly the testing of missiles was part of the ceasefire's agenda? Hardly likely !

It is not known whether the tested missile was assembled in the jungles of the Vanni or imported as assembled but ascertained that the LTTE had procured the missiles from the black markets in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Thailand and the lapse in security which has permitted the transportation of such a weapon of destruction to get past their scrutiny speaks volumes for the inefficiency of the defence authorities and lends much credence to the President's annexation of the Defence Ministry where under her directive it seems unlikely that any concession of such leniency would have transpired in order to permit the outlawed rebel outfit to fire test missiles in Sovereign Democratic Territory despite the protestations of the Defence Minister and the Prime Minister who have criticised the President's actions to annex the Defence Ministry with little ground to stand on now as far as their justifications are concerned on a matter of prime importance which appears to have been grossly neglected and suggests incompetence.

Bearing in mind that the LTTE first used missiles in 1995 to gun down planes of the Sri Lankan Air Force using surface to air missiles and as a result the LTTE were able to virtually bring to their knees the entire operations of the Air force and Air Traffic which included the transportation of passengers from Colombo to Jaffna this information must raise concerns about National Security at a very crucial time and the question must be asked "What jurisdiction under a ceasefire in force did the LTTE have towards this bold venture and how exactly the Administration intends to deal with it without compromising all dedications towards the peace which has lasted in Sri Lanka thus far?

On a rather ironic note it has been officially announced byThe Army Commander Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalle that Ceasefire Agreement will continue despite the political change while maintaining his confidence that the LTTE too would adhere to the same. The Army Chief was addressing the opening ceremony of the International Humanitarian Law & Human Rights Advanced Training Course for Military Officers at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute although his exuberance does not attest to the reality that short of appearing to be a one sided Ceasefire now that the LTTE have been caught testing a new missile there can be no consolation in any back patting or feeling smug about National Security unless it is confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt that the Armed Forces are capable of confronting and countering any fancy LTTE moves as the imperative need to assert authority seems to have waned once again where the LTTE have been let off the hook and perhaps given the impression that their violations of the ceasefire would go unnoticed!! Something the Wickremasinghe Administration seemed very nonchalant about and perhaps the reason why the LTTE have grown bolder by the day!

There was a huge display of military might at the Independence Day Celebrations in Colombo which to all intents and purposes was a show of strength by the Status Quo in Colombo and all to no avail if it has not been a deterrent towards any future conflict as far as the LTTE are concerned but on a brighter and more optimistict note it has to be observed the LTTE Missile Testing in their best interests has taken place prior to February the 4th and hopefully will not be repeated bearing in mind the implications it would bring to bear on them with the signing of the Regional Defence Treaty between India and Sri Lanka which now seems to have a greater urgency towards priority!



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