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Unprecedented Glorious Victory | dailynews.lk

Victory achieved through sacrifice

The Army Commander says if not for the
sacrifices made by the Sri Lanka Army and the soldiers who fought this battle facing death at every corner, achieving victory would not have been possible. “We could create an Army which can make any kind
of sacrifice in defending the motherland. More than 5,200 soldiers sacrificed their lives whilst nearly 30,000 soldiers were wounded in action”

His vision to win the war against the ruthless terror outfit was always there in his mind even when he was a young officer of the Sri Lanka Army, says General Fonseka, the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army who steered 200,000 odd troops to eliminate the most ruthless terror outfit from the Sri Lankan soil, while recalling the planning out this military strategy to eliminate LTTE.

Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who was promoted to the rank of General following the glorious victory achieved by the Security Forces against the LTTE, says that it was that long experience after serving in the Sri Lanka Army specially in the battlefront as an infantry officer and his observations on the battlefront, that enabled him to command his troops to reach this success.

With all due respect to all his predecessors and the commanding officers, he says that this battle could have been won when LTTE launched its second Eelam War in early 1990’s if correct military strategies and policies were adopted by the then political and military leadership.

His vision to defeat LTTE terrorism, embroiled in his inner mind would have died a natural death if he was not appointed the Commander of the Army. “It was just ten days ahead of my retirement that I was appointed the Commander of the Army by the President”, General Fonseka recalled.

And it made the great combination of political leadership and military leadership to defeat the LTTE along with the leadership given by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. “That combination of political and military leadership was the key turning point that led us to reach this military success at last”, the Army Commander says.

The LTTE was aware that his appointment as the Army Commander was a huge blow to the LTTE and signals of their desperation came with a series of claymore mine explosions in Jaffna when the news of his appointment as the Army Commander hit the streets and at the very moment he was assuming duties at the Army Headquarters in December 2006.

But the LTTE could not stop his march towards eliminating terrorism after sending their death squads in the guise of a pregnant woman. It was due to the fortune of this nation and the physical and mental strength as a brave infantryman, he could survive from the suicide attack inside the Army headquarters on April 25, 2006.

Not only the LTTE even there was a section in the Army who did not want him to be the Army Commander. “There are Army officers who did not want to work under me as I was strict in my orders. If we could not maintain that discipline we could not have achieved this victory today”, the Army Commander says.

It was from his hospital bed that he observed the way our valiant troops were launching the Mavil Aru humanitarian operation. Even in the last battle in Mullaitivu, he commanded his troops from China. “As long as the telephone and the map is with me I can command the troops. The distance is not a problem”, he says.

“The LTTE decided the start of the war with the closure of Mavil Aru anicut, but the rest of the battle was fought according to our plan”, the Commander says.

It was with four Regular Infantry battalions along with the Commando and Special Forces troops the Sri Lanka Army launched its humanitarian operations to defeat LTTE in the East.

“I was aware that we could win the East with that strength. The Infantry battalions which were formed when the Thoppigala battle was fought, were deployed to form the 57 Division to launch the Wanni liberation operation amid ground commanders asking for more troops for the East”, the Commander says recalling how the Army managed to liberate the East.

His assessments and calculations on the battlefront were precise and even surprised the ground commanders who had directly faced the enemy in the battlefront.

At last he was happy that those military victories in the East attracted more youth to the Army with an average of 3,000 youth joining on a monthly basis. “This has increased our strength from 116,000 in the year 2006 to 200,000 in the year 2009”, the Army Commander says.

It was with that strength the Army could form more and more battalion and offensive Divisions for the Wanni liberation operation and to deploy troops to hold the captured ground. “Initially we had no intention to capture the ground. Our intention was to weaken the LTTE’s fighting capabilities and we deployed small teams deep inside their territory to destroy their fighting capabilities. We took eight months to advance the first 4 Km in Wanni and to capture Thampanai village”, the commander recalls.

“It was after that initial success in eliminating the middle level leadership and huge number of Tiger cadres that the troops managed to have speedy progress in their battle capturing one stronghold after the other in Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts”, General Fonseka says. “It was due to destroying their defences that we could fast move into their territory destroying many of their assets and cadres”, the Army Commander says.

It was after the capture of Kilinochchi that we concentrated on capturing the ground. “I thought of speeding up the process of capturing the ground as the entire nation, the troops and I was tired of dragging this war for years and wanted to see an end very soon”, the Commander says.

He was happy all the offensive Divisions were working alike and the way they could reach that victory as a team facing all sorts of challenges.

The Army Commander says if not for the sacrifices made by the Sri Lanka Army and the soldiers who fought this battle facing death at every corner, achieving victory would not have been possible. “We could create an Army which can make any kind of sacrifice in defending the motherland. More than 5,200 soldiers sacrificed their lives whilst nearly 30,000 soldiers were wounded in action”, the Army Commander says.

“But with all those sacrifices, our soldiers displayed their humane qualities at the time they rescued a nearly 300,000 Tamil population from the clutches of LTTE”, the Army Commander says.

“Today, we are happily celebrating this victory due to the sacrifices made by our soldiers in the battlefront. Therefore, we should lay a strong foundation to sustain that victory for the future generations too. That is why we need to strengthen that Army further to face any threat”, the Army Commander says.

“I am happy today as the Sri Lanka Army could assassinate that ruthless terrorist along with all his leaders in such a way they could not escape from the country after encircling them in the ground”, he remarked.

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