Sri Lanka welfare spending seen helping raise support for war

May 31, 2011 (LBO) – A government fertiliser subsidy given to farmers was a key factor in generating public support for Sri Lanka’s military campaign that defeated Tamil Tiger separatists, a defence official said. The Indian and Sri Lankan governments maintained close ties and clear communications lines at the highest levels that ensured any issues were immediately resolved. A clear aim and unwavering political commitment to the war also helped build confidence among troops and the public in the campaign to crush the Tigers, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, secretary to the defence ministry, said.

Strengthening government ranks, which had only a “tenuous” parliamentary majority, by luring opposition members with ministerial positions was also necessary to ensure government stability, said Rajapaksha, seen as a key architect of the military campaign.

Had the government collapsed during the campaign, which ended in May 2009, it would have weakened the war effort, he told an international seminar on Sri Lanka’s experience in defeating terrorism organised by the Sri Lanka Army that began Tuesday.

Military officers from 41 countries are taking part in the three-day seminar.

The move drew “a great deal of critici