Sri Lanka asking Pakistan for swift military assistance: Jane’s

LONDON, June 8, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka is looking to Pakistan for help to bolster its military capabilities as the ceasefire between the government and rebels appears increasingly fragile, specialist publication Jane’s Defence Weekly said Thursday.

Sri Lanka has asked Pakistan to facilitate the purchase of military equipment worth around 60 million dollars (47 million euros), according to high-level discussions detailed in documents seen by the defence magazine.

Jane’s Defence Weekly said Sri Lanka had asked that their requests be treated with the “utmost priority” given the deteriorating security situation.

The report was published as violence surged on the island, with at least 16 people reported killed, hours before talks opened in Oslo between the Colombo government and Tamil Tiger rebels on ensuring protection for ceasefire monitors.

According to the magazine, the Sri Lankan army’s shopping list has a combined value of 20 million dollars, while the air force’s requirements are worth a further 38.1 million dollars.

The weekly said that Sri Lanka was looking to build up its military capacity and had also issued a plea to Pakistan to provide swift technical assistance for its T-55 main battle tanks (MBTs) and C-130 trans