Year 2008 saw LTTE being pushed to the corner

Colombo (PTI): The year 2008 saw the LTTE being pushed to the corner virtually by the Sri Lankan Army in the nearly three decades-old ethnic war even as India walked a tightrope on addressing the concerns of displaced civilian Tamils in the island’s embattled northern region.

The year began with the Sri Lankan Government abrogating the 2002 ceasefire and launching an all-out offensive against the LTTE in its strongholds of northern region inflicting heavy damages on the rebels.

With the army forces now positioned in "kissing distances" at the outer defence lines of the administrative headquarters of LTTE and main garrison township of Kilinochchi, the flamboyant Army chief Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka declared that 80 per cent of war with the Tamil Tigers was over.

India sent a high-level delegation to Colombo in June to underscore its concern in the rehabilitation of displaced Tamils in parts of northern Lanka which were liberated from the clutches of the LTTE.

The three-member delegation consisting of National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh held closed-door talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse and senior military commanders.

During the meetings, the Indian side reiterated its position that there was no military solution to the conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives and asked Colombo to address the issue within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.

The team also met with representatives of various Tamil parties, including the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

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