What we don't see
Will a good number of soldiers, tanks and artillery ensure victory in a war? These are outward aspects of a war which alone are insufficient, says Sri Lanka's Master Strategist Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He says the key to triumph in a war is political will and strategy.
In an exclusive interview to V K Shashikumar, Indian Defence Review, Gotabaya reveals the crucial decisions of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that led to the successful completion of Sri Lankan Armed Forces' combat operations against the LTTE.
He says it was President Mahinda Rajapaksa's determination that ultimately helped the army defeat the Tamil Tigers.
"President Mahinda Rajapaksa took several brave decisions. In the final analysis, it was the cumulative effect of those decisive, brave decisions that enabled Sri Lankan Armed Forces (SLAF) to liquidate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)"
He says, "Usually in a military operation the world outside the conflict theatre, domestic and international, see only soldiers fighting. They see tanks, guns, armoured vehicles, artillery weapons and men and women in battle fatigues."
"What is not visible to the people, to the outside world, is the strategy. What is also not visible immediately and also not recalled at that moment in time is the history that led to the current context of military operations. What was that context? Eight previous governments led by four different Presidents had failed to end the war. They had failed to rein in the LTTE. It is not as if those eight governments and four presidents did not have under their command good military leaders and soldiers. In fact, when President Rajapaksa's government assumed charge in 2005, around 26,000 SLAF soldiers had already sacrificed their lives," he adds.
Image: Lankan soldiers in action (Pictures copyright Indian Defence Review. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited)