Sri Lanka cancels US$200mn in arms deals

July 15, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has cancelled orders for 200 million US dollars of military hardware and ammunition from China, after a 30-year war with Tamil Tiger separatists ended, a top official said. Fonseka said soldiers in areas like northern Jaffna found it difficult to take leave at the current strength.

“If we want to stop desertions because soldiers cannot get leave, we need more people,” he said.

“We had ordered 200 million US dollars of ammunition and arms from China. We cancelled them,” Sri Lanka’s former army commander Sarath Fonseka told reporters after taking over as the country’s chief of defence staff Wednesday.

“A part of the money will have to be used for day-to-day running expenses of the military.”

The military wiped out the leadership of Tamil Tigers in May killing Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

Fonseka said 200 million US dollars of ammunition represented about three to five months of ammunition use at the intensity of the last stages of fighting.

Fonseka said his office will oversee future military procurements, the three forces and police.

He said the military needed more men to ensure security in newly captured areas. Governmen