Feb 12, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government says it will not compromise when it comes to providing security to the nation as a part of the Tamil Tiger terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) remain active outside the country.
Secretary of Defence and Urban Development Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said although the LTTE's military leadership was destroyed during the final offensive, it was only a part of the vast organization and the rest of the LTTE outfit is still at large.
The Defense Secretary expressed these views while delivering the keynote address at the Pakistan - Sri Lanka Joint Seminar on 'Political and Diplomatic Challenges Faced by Nations during and after Conflict Confined to Borders' at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Affairs (LKIIRSS) Monday (11 February).
He explained that although the remnants of LTTE had adopted a democratic face in its international dealings, its members will try hard to restart the conflict in Sri Lanka and it is a threat that must be guarded against by the government.
The seminar was organized by the High Commission of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in collaboration with the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Affairs (LKIIRSS).
The Defense Secretary addressed the challenges a country would face after a long-drawn conflict such as in Sri Lanka ended. He discussed at length issues such as the need to address post conflict humanitarian crisis, establishing rule of law, maintaining macro- economic stability and development of social services and infrastructure, challenges in countering extremism and terrorism, promoting pluralism and diplomacy in times of internal conflicts.
He emphasized the importance of resettling the displaced after a conflict situation as quickly as possible. He said it is a task that any government should undertake with great urgency, because it is the best way to help the people who were most affected by the war return to normal lives quickly.
"It is very important to bring closure to the conflict, and to ensure that ill feeling is minimised so that whatever causes led to the conflict in the first place do not gain new momentum once it has ended," he noted.
Secretary Rajapaksa explained that when countering post-conflict security threats provision of security does not necessarily need to be overt.
Taking Sri Lanka's situation as an example, Secretary Rajapaksa said the military can step back from a visible and active role in upholding security and commence passive operations through intelligence gathering and surveillance.
"This helps the military achieve the intended security precautions without being in any way felt to be a problem to the people," he said.
Describing the political challenges after a conflict can be immense, the Secretary said the government has the responsibility to identify the issues that led to the conflict in the first place and resolve them through political means.
In the case of Sri Lanka, one of the biggest issues in the North and East has been the lack of mainstream political parties operating in those areas due to the suppression by the LTTE dominance.
"Restoring political plurality in these areas has been a major challenge because it is not easy to find and motivate suitable people to come out and join the political process," the Defense Secretary noted.
Secretary Rajapaksa revealed that many LTTE activists in Tamil expatriate communities have projected an incorrect picture about the Humanitarian Operation in their host nations and due to that those governments exert pressure on Sri Lanka at various forums, including the United Nations Human Rights Council over the last few years that has become a major challenge that the government has to face in the present and the future context.
Full Text of the Speech delivered by the Defense Secretary