Let us avoid man made traps
Sri Lanka’s position with regard to the stationing of her armed forces had been forcefully articulated by the SL External Affairs Minister and the Defence Secretary at a recent confab in Colombo in reply to a query by a senior Indian army officer who was with the IPKF.
It is indeed ironic that the former IPKF member required such an explanation after experiencing in Sri Lanka the ferocity of the armed LTTE and loosing hundreds of his soldiers in Sri Lanka. Or, is it that this Major General -formerly of the IPKF – is interested in anticipating Sri Lankan forces to be in the same boat as the IPKF was , in a future date? If there is no such ulterior motive on the part of the Major General or his country, India, one cannot comprehend why such questions are directed at the Sri Lankan government.
India’s stationing of forces in disputed Jammu -Kashmir or in the North-East India and her armed forces’ responses to the ‘anti- govt’ activities are not questioned by the SAARC countries or even by the well known NGOs as India insists that these are internal issues. The UK and the USA who along with India questioning the decisions made by Sri Lankan government’s with regard to the stationing of her forces especially in the North and the East have thousands of their defense force members all over world in spite of the opposition expressed by the locals.
Hence , the response articulated by Prof G.L.Peiris and Mr Gotabhya Rajapkase to loaded questions about the Sri Lankan forces deserve the appreciation of all peace loving Sri Lankans. It is the firm belief of all Sri Lankans that the Government will never give up the right to decide how and where her forces will be stationed and mobilized. Thirty five years of war fueled by India and the West which was overcome by the supreme sacrifices made by tens of thousands of men and women should give the courage to the Nation and her leaders to be firm and avoid man made traps.
By Ranjith Soysa