|Tigers received explosives, aviation gasoline from India|
Page 2 of 2Explosives had been one of the main items obtained from Indian suppliers and a range of other items, including detonators needed to trigger explosives and steel balls also a key ingredient in claymore mines. Sri Lanka had recovered large quantities of explosives both before and after the collapse of the LTTE with the recent recovery of over 2,500 kilos of explosives buried east of A9 by intelligence services being the largest single detection in the entire eelam war. The police had earlier recovered about 3,900 kgs of explosives while the army and navy, too, made major recoveries.
Over two months after the collapse of the LTTE on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon, Sri Lanka is in the process of recovering buried LTTE arms caches, mainly in areas east of the A9.
Now, that the LTTE had been crushed, it would be pertinent to conduct a cohesive study on the LTTE supply network. Although the international community regularly calls for strict controls on the transfer of arms, ammunition and other warlike equipment, the LTTE had been able to procure armaments in many parts of the world and transfer them across borders with impunity.
Air Tigers wouldn’t have able to launch a series of attacks, including double suicide strike last February thwarted by the SLAF had Sri Lanka stopped aviation gasoline stocks reaching the Vanni. The military establishment believed that the LTTE had procured its aviation gasoline supplies from India. The LTTE had access to influential persons in Tamil Nadu, who even accepted supplies from Norway and other developed countries on behalf of the LTTE and then transferred them across to Sri Lanka.
A chance detection of LTTE operatives with their Indian counter parts and the seizure of a large trawler carrying about 2000 kgs of high explosives by India at the early stages of eelam war IV revealed the existence of the Indian supply line. The Indian media, in an effort to destabilise Sri Lanka’s efforts to curb cross-border movements warned of what it called LTTE suicide packs operating in Sri Lankan waters. What it really wanted was to restrict Sri Lankan naval movements to facilitate supply runs to Sri Lanka.
A spate of recoveries made by Southern Indian States beginning January 2007 included large quantities detonators, steel balls, aluminium bars, diesel and gelatine sticks. The LTTE couldn’t have survived without maintaining their two primary supply routes. While the route which involved its merchant fleet had brought supplies to Chalai and Mullaitivu on the north-eastern coast the other moved across the Gulf of Mannar to Nachchikudah-Pooneryn stretch on the north-western coast.
The LTTE had also procured boats from Tamil Nadu fishermen and deployed them for smuggling operations at the risk of their lives. Although terrorists world over had engaged in smuggling, no group managed the way the LTTE did operating a fleet of merchant vessels and trawlers to keep the supplies moving in to northern Sri Lanka constantly.
The LTTE in a bid to accommodate large cargo aircraft carrying ammunition launched work on an airfield in the Mullaitivu district but never managed to bring in even one load before the army ran over their bases in the Vanni east theatre last May.
~ island.lk ~ by Shamindra Ferdinando