Asia under threat if SL fails to contain terrorism: MR

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said many countries in the Asian region will be under threat if Sri Lanka fails to contain the new terror threat.

Rajapaksa said this year’s Easter Sunday bombings was the deadliest terrorist attack on civilian targets to take place anywhere in Asia.

“If we don’t get on top of the situation, all neighbouring countries including India, the Maldives, Bangladesh, and even countries further off like Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia will be under threat. So this new terrorist threat will have to be contained by whatever means necessary,” Rajapaksa said.

Rajapaksa expressed these views at the graduation ceremony of the Defence Services Command and Staff College today.

“We have to take serious note of the fact that while there were no Indians among the 2008 Mumbai attackers, all the Easter Sunday suicide bombers were Sri Lankans.”

“This is a threat that will have to be contained not only for Sri Lanka’s sake but for the well- being of all other nations in the region. This year, India went on alert on at least two occasions due to information that Islamic terrorists from Sri Lanka were trying to enter India by boat.”

“Countries in our immediate neighbourhood and beyond are well aware of the danger and we can expect their fullest cooperation in this regard.”

The Prime Minister added that unlike the war against the LTTE which required ground, sea and air operations, this new threat at this stage requires mainly intelligence operations.

However, he said, “Unfortunately over the past five years, the intelligence services were rendered completely inoperative. Members of the intelligence services were persecuted, harassed, and jailed by the previous government on false charges.”

He said the new situation Sri Lanka is faced with requires intelligence operations, cooperation with international intelligence agencies and certain strategic foreign policy initiatives.