'Pak played key role in Lanka's victory over Tamil Tigers'
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Pakistani supplied Al-Khalid - the main battle tank, its fighter pilots flying air strike mission on LTTE bases and positioning of some of its highly trained army officers in Colombo played a key role in the Sri Lankan forces rout of Tamil Tigers, Pakistani media has claimed.
"It was the Pakistani defence cooperation with Sri Lanka as the largest suppliers of high-tech military equipment that played a major role in the ultimate defeat of the LTTE at the hands of the Sri Lankan army," The News daily quoted well placed sources in the Pakistani establishment as saying.
The newspaper said the defence cooperation between Sri Lanka and Pakistan had grown significantly in recent years as Islamabad, unlike New Delhi, had no problems supplying the state-of-the-art weaponry to Lankan army to accelerate its counter-insurgency operations against the LTTE which finally ended with the killing of Tiger chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran.
The report said that Sri Lankan army was running short of ammunition but tied up supplies of 60mm, 81mm, 120mm and 130mm mortars and 150,000 grenades every ten days during its crucial battle to overrun the Tigers' political capital Kilinochchi.
According to the report, Pakistan supplied weapons and ammunition worth USD 190 million for the past one year and the Colombo's shopping list supplied by its army chief Sarath Fonseka included 22 Al-Khalid main battle tanks and other high tech arms.
As part of the cooperation, Pakistan Air Force pilots had participated in several successful air strikes against several military bases of the LTTE in August 2008, the report said.
Islamabad had positioned a highly trained group of Pakistani armed officers in Colombo to guide the Sri Lankan security forces in their operations against the LTTE. This was quite contrary to the LTTE propaganda that India was helping the Sri Lankan Government.