Sri Lanka, Sea Tigers and Indian Navy

When Sri Lanka is Pricked, Indian Navy Jumps

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2008 (ID. 2008-01-02)
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Sri Lanka is a tiny island south of the giant India with over 50 times the population of Sri Lanka. There is an ethnic war going on between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil minority. Whenever Sri Lankan armed forces are pricked in that civil war, Indian Navy jumps to attention. Why?

In October 2007, Tamil rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), carried out a daring and successful attack at a Sri Lankan Air Force Base in Anuradhapura, deep in Sinhala territory. Immediately Indian Navy went on alert as if LTTE's next target would be India. There is no reason for the Indian government to think that way because there had never been a military attack on Indian soil in this two decade long war, and there is no conceivable reason for LTTE to attack India now and invite a sure, swift and severe retaliation.

We can understand Sri Lanka putting its navy on alert in case the Anuradhapura attack was the first of a series of LTTE strikes against its military. But why India? Did India put its navy on alert to give the Sri Lankan Navy a helping hand in case LTTE continues with its attacks and gets an upper hand in the war?

In November 2007, Sri Lankan Air Force bombed a bunker and killed LTTE's Political Division Head Suppiah Paramu Tamilselvan (S. P. Tamilselvan). Again, Indian Navy was put on the alert. Why? We can understand Sri Lankan Navy going on alert expecting possible retaliatory strikes by LTTE Naval Wing (Sea Tigers). Why did India put its navy on alert? Was it to help the Sri Lankan Navy in case LTTE got an upper hand in the sea battles?

Indian Navy had, in the past, come to assist the Sri Lankan Navy when it needed help. In May 2007 LTTE ships were about to attack a Sri Lankan ship carrying 700 Sri Lankan soldiers to the north. All of a sudden Indian Navy ships came to the area. According to a report published by D. B. S. Jeyaraj, no friend of LTTE, "Indian ships stood guard". LTTE backed off from the attack. India based NDTV said, in a report titled Indian navy ships 'save' Lanka troops, "Indian military ships in the Palk Strait discouraged Tamil rebel attacks that could have killed at least 700 Sri Lankan soldiers".

What is the purpose of the Indian naval armada stationed on Tamil Nadu coast? Is it to protect Indian citizens in the south or is it a contracted mercenary navy to help Sri Lanka?


1. Indian Duplicity in Military Aid to Sri Lanka as Impotent Tamil Nadu Watches: Part I (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, March 2007 (16 KB)

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