Sri Lanka says the new terrorism threat must be contained by whatever means necessary.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa warned that if the situation is not contained all neighbouring countries including India, the Maldives, Bangladesh, and even countries further off like Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia will be under threat.
“So this new terrorist threat will have to be contained by whatever means necessary. Countries in our immediate neighbourhood and beyond are well aware of the danger and we can expect their fullest cooperation in this regard,” he said.
Rajapaksa expressed these views while speaking as the Chief Guest at the graduation ceremony of the Defence Services Command and Staff College today.
“We once again assume leadership of this nation at a time when our national sovereignty and national security is under threat. With just days to go to the tenth anniversary of the victory against the LTTE, we had the Easter Sunday suicide bombings carried out by an extremist Islamic organization. In comparison to most countries in Asia we are a small island nation. But nothing seems to happen here on a small scale,” Rajapaksa said.
Rajapaksa said that the Easter Sunday bombings was the deadliest terrorist attack on civilian targets to take place anywhere in Asia.
“We have to take serious note of the fact that while there were no Indians among the 2008 Mumbai attackers, all the Easter Sunday suicide bombers were Sri Lankans. This is a threat that will have to be contained not only for Sri Lanka’s sake but for the well-being of all other nations in the region. This year, India went on alert on at least two occasions due to information that Islamic terrorists from Sri Lanka were trying to enter India by boat,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that unlike the war against the LTTE which required ground, sea and air operations, the new threat at this stage requires mainly intelligence operations.
“Unfortunately over the past five years, the intelligence services were rendered completely inoperative. Members of the intelligence services were persecuted, harassed, and jailed by the previous government on false charges. It was not just the intelligence services that had to face this situation. The entire high command of the armed forces during the war against the LTTE was brought before the police with a great deal of media publicity to answer to all kinds of allegations,” he added.
Rajapaksa pledged to the armed forces that that the humiliation and injustices that they were subject to over the past five years will be rectified and restitution provided where necessary.
He said that initiatives will be taken at the international level to restore to Sri Lanka’s armed forces, the respect and dignity they deserve.
“We all know that there are various agendas at the international level operational with regard to our armed forces. There are instances where certain foreign parties objected to promotions made within our armed forces. No sovereign country will allow such foreign interference in the internal affairs of its armed forces,” he said.
He said that the political authorities will provide the armed forces of Sri Lanka with the leadership to achieve the objective of ensuring the national security of a sovereign Sri Lanka. That is our pledge to the armed forces and the people of Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)