Britain seeks Sri Lanka's expertise on counter-terrorism operations

The Special Boat Squadron (SBS) is the Sri Lankan Navy's elite special forces unit. Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Minsitry of defence.

Earlier this week it was reported that the Pakistani Army had approached Sri Lanka to train their commandos in guerrilla warfare.

The Island now reports that the British defence attache in Colombo has also requested more information from the Sri Lankan Navy on their counter terrorism operations adopted to defeat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The Island
Sources said that both the UK and India had wanted Lanka to share her experience in SBS [elite Special Boat Squadron] operations. To strengthen small boat operations, the navy subsequently launched the Rapid Action Boat Squadron (RABS) and deployed it alongside the SBS. As a part of its new strategy, the navy deployed small boats along with primary strike force-Fast Attack Squadrons and were responsible for imposing a blockade on Mullaitivu in the east coast during the last stages of the ground offensive.

Sources said that countries with large navies faced with terrorist threats would be keen to learn from Sri Lanka’s experience, particularly in view of the danger posed by explosives-laden small craft targeting warships as in the case of the suicide attack on the USN destroyer Cole on October 12, 2000 in the port of Aden in Yemen.

A group of US military personnel is currently in Sri Lanka to conduct a series of joint training exercises with the SBS in the East. The visit is the first by foreign military personnel after the end of war last May. Sources said that Fast Boat Squadrons, too, had shared their experience with the US over a period of several years as part of a US-Lanka military training programme launched during the Kumaratunga presidency.

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