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Sri Lanka defence spending seen as ‘vital investment’

June 03, 2011 (LBO) - Sri Lanka spent 5.5 billion US dollars in its military campaign which crushed Tamil Tiger separatists, far less than what foreign powers spent on their current wars, central bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. "It was a vital investment not an expenditure like what many people would think it is," Cabraal said. "It was an investment in peace."

The government spent about four percent of gross domestic product on total defence investment or around 5.5 billion US dollars in the four year between 2006 and 2009, he told an international seminar on Sri Lanka's experience in defeating terrorism. Military officers from 41 countries took part in the three-day seminar organised by the Sri Lanka Army that began Tuesday. The money went to strength the security forces, to buy equipment, and for the actual military operations that led to the Tigers' defeat in May 2009, ending the 30-year ethnic war.

"The amount compares quite reasonably with military spending of other countries," Cabraal said.

"Sri Lanka does not figure as having a very high proportion of spending on military compared with other wars on terror."

The United States spent 910 billion dollars up to 2009 in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

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