Two former commanders of the Army and Air Force yesterday came down hard on India over comments made by the Indian National Security Adviser that Sri Lanka should not seek weapons from Pakistan or China.
Former Army Chief Hamilton Wanasinghe said India should not tell Sri Lanka from where it should purchase military hardware or not. It is Sri Lanka`s choice, so the request is `unfair`,` General Wanasinghe who commanded the Army from 1988 to 1991 told the Daily Mirror.
Praising Pakistan and China for their continued support to Sri Lanka, the former Army Chief also said we had to depend on Pakistan and China at critical points of time in the past. `We can`t antagonize those two countries, as they were there when we needed them.` Accusing neighbouring India of creating Sri Lanka`s conflict, the former Army Commander said India was partly responsible for creating the problem for us. `The LTTE was created by India. That`s the truth.`
Meanwhile, former Air Force Chief Air Vice Marshal Harry Gunatilake said Sri Lanka had the freedom to go to any country to purchase weapons.
Claiming that it was a good thing that Sri Lanka first went to India to seek weapons, Air Vice Marshal Gunatilake said `Though India does not like to give defensive weapons to us, we had the decency to inform India. However we have the right to go elsewhere and buy what we want.`
Addressing the media in Chennai India`s National Security Advisor M K Narayanan said: `We are a big power in the region. We don`t want the Sri Lankan government to go to Pakistan or China. Whatever may be its requirement, the Sri Lankan government should come to us. However, India will not provide weapons with offensive capabilities to Sri Lanka`.
Justifying why India provided radars to the Sri Lankan government, Mr. Narayan has said, `Radars are seen as a defensive capability. Hence, we have provided the Sri Lankan government with them.`