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Military strategy to change with breaking of LTTE’s back

With the Sri Lanka’s most successful ground offensive on the Vanni front rapidly coming to a close, an appraisal of overall military strategy is on the cards.

Authoritative military sources asserted that once the army liberated an area of less than 300 square kms. east of the A9, the basic strategy will have to be changed.

The transformation will see giant multiple Division-sized operations replaced by a mix of operations by the infantry, Special Forces and Commandos targeting isolated LTTE units which may take refuge in the dense jungles of the northern and eastern provinces.

Such operations will be supplemented by intelligence services targeting clandestine LTTE activity aimed at destabilization by assassinations and hit and run attacks on civilian targets.

The Katunayake-based jet squadrons will now find it extremely difficult to zero-in on LTTE targets due to heavy presence of civilians, senior defence sources said. High altitude bombing would pose a serious problem.

The three jet squadrons comprising Kfirs, MiG 27s and F7s responsible for almost 1,400 missions in Eelam War IV would get a long breather, the sources said.

Once the army had regained the entire Vanni region, both east and west of the A9, any target would be accessible to the army, the sources said.

The deployment pattern of the army as well as other forces too would change as they would be called to fight an insurgency.

The sources pointed out that the deployment of heavy weapons ranging from T 55 main battle tanks to 152 mm artillery pieces and Czech-built Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers, wouldn’t be necessary once the major battles end.

They asserted that priorities would change as the army targets isolated enemy units attempting survive in the jungles.

The bottom line is that the use of ammunition by all services will see a sharp decrease. This will be true of particularly the army and the SLAF. (SF)

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