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I consider it a pleasure and a privilege to have been invited to deliver the first Public Lecture at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute on the topic, “Future Challenges of National Security in Sri Lanka”.Although Sri Lanka today is one of the most stable and secure countries in the Asian region, it needs to be understood that national security is still a critical issue for us. It was less than three short years ago that the LTTE was defeated, after having caused enormous suffering for all Sri Lankans for three decades. The LTTE’s military defeat in May 2009 was a pivotal event in Sri Lanka’s history. It lifted the veil of fear that hung over daily life and impacted each and every Sri Lankan for a generation. It eliminated the primary obstacle to Sri Lanka’s future prospects and brought back a long overdue sense of peace and stability to our people. It is vital that we do not take any of this for granted. Sri Lanka still has enemies, and they are still at work to bring back disharmony and conflict to our nation.
There are several threats that will be covered during the course of this lecture. These include:
The first threat to consider is the on-going activities of LTTE linked organisations outside Sri Lanka. Despite the military defeat of the LTTE and the elimination of its top leadership two and a half years ago, the rump of the LTTE’s global establishment is still active. There are ex-LTTE cadres, pro-LTTE activists and LTTE sympathisers still operating in various guises through various groups in many countries around the world.
After the demise of Prabhakaran, the LTTE’s former head of procurement Kumaran Pathmanadan, better known as KP, took control over the LTTE’s international network. However, a breakaway faction emerged almost immediately, led by Nediyawan, who was a follower of Manivannan (alias Castro), the former head of the LTTE’s international network. The key reason for the emergence of a breakaway faction was that while KP’s group declared they would continue their struggle for a separate state through democratic means, Nediyawan’s group felt that objective could only be achieved by following the violent ideology preached by Prabhakaran.
Following the arrest of KP in August 2009, Rudrakumaran took over the leadership of his organisation and worked towards establishing a “Government in Exile”. This group now fashions itself as The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam. Its primary objective is to lobby Foreign Governments for the establishment of a separate state in the North and East of Sri Lanka. The so-called “Transnational Government” has more than twenty so-called “Ministers” and an advisory committee comprising prominent pro LTTE activists. Even at the start of this year, Rudrakumaran not only outlined the group’s clear intention to intensify its lobbying of foreign Governments to support a separate state, but also stated its hope to encourage the resumption of direct struggles within Sri Lanka.
Another prominent LTTE-linked group is the British Tamils Forum, which is an umbrella organisation established in the United Kingdom with the aim of mustering support from the immigrant Tamil community and local politicians for the division of Sri Lanka. One of the primary objectives of this group has been to influence the thinking of the British Government in favour of the LTTE’s interests. Evolving from the BTF is the Global Tamils Forum, which emerged in February 2010. The head of the GTF is the so-called Father Emmanuel, a Priest who was once hailed by Prabhakaran as “a freedom fighter who has given leadership to a movement committed to setting up the homeland to Tamil Eelam”. Father Emmanuel has been engaged in a propaganda campaign against Sri Lanka for many years, targeting Tamil expatriates, Foreign Governments and International Organisations.
Under his guidance, the GTF has successfully won over a number of politicians from various political parties in European countries as well as the United States, Australia, Canada, and India to support the separatist cause. In addition, the GTF and the BTF have courted officials within international organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union and various non-governmental organisations to obtain their support.
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