May 27, 2007 (AFP) – A new wave of air and naval combat is likely in Sri Lanka as government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels step up battles that have killed more than 5,000 people since peace talks collapsed, analysts say. British High Commissioner Dominick Chilcott said: “The only solution to this massive disruption of civilian life in Sri Lanka is for all sides to immediately bring the violence to an end.” Defence officials say the military is planning to buy MiG-29 supersonic jet fighters, Mi-24 helicopter gunships and bigger guns for navy fast attack craft to counter growing threats from the rebels at sea and in the air.
“There is very little chance of reviving the peace process,” said Sunanda Deshapriya, a director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, describing the February 2002 truce as all but dead.
“I don’t think it is possible to salvage the ceasefire. We will see more fighting in the months to come.”
The Tigers ended a month-long lull in their attacks last week with the launch of a major sea-borne assault that saw the brief fall of a strategic naval facility on remote Delft island off Jaffna in the north.
Both sides suffered casualties, but defence sources said the bigger loss to the militar