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'India's refusal forced Lanka to turn to China'

May 25, 2009 15:13 IST

India had refused to supply offensive weapons to the Sri Lankan military during its critical campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, forcing Colombo to turn to China for purchases.

"India had told us they were not in a position to sell or send offensive weapons or even equipment like radars and basic communication equipment to meet our requirements," Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka has revealed.

This, he said, had led Colombo to approach countries like Pakistan, China and Russia for meeting its urgent needs. He said while Islamabad told Sri Lanka it had limited amount of ammunition and could not meet the requirements projected by Colombo, similar equipment from Russia, Ukraine and other countries "proved for us to be very costly".

"So we had no other option," Fonseka told NDTV, but to obtain heavy weaponry from China. Fonseka added that Sri Lanka had bought "artillery and infantry weapons including armoured personnel carriers and other systems to overcome ambushes".

"It was readily available and comparatively cheaper -- almost half the price compared to Russia. We had no other option," the army chief explained.  

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