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'The Guns, Thank God, The Guns,' Needing 'A Good Guy With a Gun, to Stop a Bad Guy With a Gun'

Colombo Telegraph

22 January 2013

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Weapons to Counter Terrorism

The armed forces and the Police were issued with powerful automatic rifles to counter terrorism. The USSR's Kalashnikov 47 (AK47) and the Chinese equivalent the Type 56 (T56) were the weapons of choice. India's Research and Intelligence Wing (RAW) armed the terrorists in the north with AK 47s.

The LTTE's procurement wing also was able to supply the LTTE with AK 47s and Stinger surface to air missiles from Afghanistan, captured from the Soviet Army. When the IPKF was in Sri Lanka, the Indian Jawans had to fight the LTTE carrying AK 47s which could fire bursts, with single shot Self Loading Rifles (SLRs) standard Indian Army issue. It is said that Jawans would collect AK 47s from dead LTTE fighters to equate the fire power!

A Sri Lankan journalist is said to have asked General Kalkat, Commander of the IPKF about this disparity of fire power. The journalist claims that the General's reply – off the record – was 'unfortunately the Indian Army's procurement rules are much stricter than the procurement rules RAW has to adhere to!'

These AK 47s and T 56 weapons picked up from dead soldiers and terrorists on the battlefield also have found their way through market forces into the hands of the underworld. Newspaper reports talk of buried weapons being recovered by troops in the north and east. T 56 issued to Policemen all over the country, during the civil war and insurgencies, seemed to have withdrawn and some Police officers are seen carrying revolvers.

ID: N688

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