Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Colonel (retd) Gotabhaya Rajapakse Thursday briefed Indian Defence Minister A. K. Anthony on the ongoing efforts to weaken the LTTE`s military capability as the SLAF stepped up pressure on enemy bases in the Vanni region.
The SLAF campaign has entered a new phase with Israeli-built Kfirs, a modern multi-role fighter aircraft with a formidable weapons system going flat out against targets in the Vanni. Kfirs struck LTTE bases south of Mullaithivu around 10 am Thursday in one of the heaviest assaults since the recent fall of Vakarai region.
Rajapakse is believed to have explained the action undertaken by government security forces as part of the strategy to undermine the Vanni-based LTTE (Vanni faction) leadership. The Defence Secretary is in Bangalore for Aero India 2007, Asia`s premier beiennial air show held at the Yelahanka Air Force Base.
Rajapakse had also met Indian Defence Secretary. Authoritative sources said that Rajapakse had expressed confidence that the LTTE had been considerably weakened, particularly in the Eastern theatre of operations.
SLAF Chief Air Marshal Roshan Goonetileke is also in Bangalore. The five-day 6th Aero India 2007, commenced on February 7 and would continue till 11.
With the recent fall of Vakarai region, the SLAF is focusing on the Vanni where the LTTE retains sizeable firepower.
Kfirs had mounted several strikes on identified targets, particularly to weaken the Sea Tiger capability. Meanwhile the SLAF is expected to deploy MIG 27s for bombing runs. The SLAF recently took delivery of four MIG 27s.
The Island learns that several other MIGs which had been grounded for several years had been sent overseas for re-hauling. Sri Lanka acquired MIG 27s in 2000 to bolster the premier Jet Squadron (No 10) which had 12 Kfirs.
Authoritative government sources said that the aerial campaign would continue.