Sri Lanka asks India to crack down on cross border gun-running

COLOMBO, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka on Wednesday asked neighbouring India to intensify a crackdown on suspected Tamil rebel gun-running across the narrow strip of sea dividing the two South Asian countries. Sri Lanka’s defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said the interception last week by the Indian coastguard of a boat loaded with weapons indicated smuggling was occurring across the Palk Straits.

“Please, I request them (India) to do more,” Rambukwella told reporters here. “If you write a headline that India is not doing enough, they will take note of it (in New Delhi).”

He said Sri Lanka’s defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who is also President Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother, had visited New Delhi and held talks with his counterparts.

“We see a new beginning taking place,” said Rambukwella who is also a minister in the Sri Lankan cabinet responsible for foreign employment affairs.

He made it clear that Sri Lanka expected India’s navy and the coastguard to step up a crackdown against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who received arms, training and safe haven in India in the mid 1980s.

However, New Delhi outlawed the Tigers after the group was held responsible for th