Reports: LTTE controlling about 6 per cent of Lankan territory; Sri Lankan military: 43 guerillas killed in fierce fighting; PM Singh: India would like to see democratic forces prevail in Sri Lanka’s northeast; LTTE sympathizers in Tamil Nadu arrested
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  • Reports noted that the LTTE's ability to counter-attack in a major way had been seriously eroded over the past year. The defeat in the East had eroded it of a valuable training ground as well as a region from where it could recruit cadres. The LTTE was reportedly appealing to Tamil families to contribute at least one member each, irrespective of age and gender, to take on the advancing Lankan military1. Reports noted that the LTTE controlled only about 4,000 sq km, which was about 6 percent of Sri Lanka's land territory. The population under its control was said to be about 250,000 - a mere 1.25 percent of the country's total.

    The Sri Lankan military said in statement revealed that battles in the rebel-held Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu regions resulted in the deaths of 28 persons, including 12 rebels and a soldier2. The defence ministry later stated that some 43 guerrillas and four soldiers had died in the fierce fighting3. Independent verification of the death toll however was not possible as journalists were barred from the war zone.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meanwhile met an array of representatives of Sri Lankan political parties in Colombo, on the sidelines of the SAARC summit. He also met Tamil groups which were not only opposed to the LTTE but also sympathetic to it. Dr. Singh reiterated that India would like to see the democratic forces prevail in Sri Lanka's northeast4.

    Reports also noted that sympathizers of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu were being targeted so that they did not source war materials from India. A sudden spurt in the arrests of LTTE men and their Indian associates in the state indicated the growing dependence of the Tamil Tigers on India to source its war materials, according to government sources. Since July 1, 2008, 7 Indian and Sri Lankan Tamils each had been taken into custody5. Those arrested included a senior leader of the Sea Tigers, Thambi Anna.

    The Chinese government offered more assistance for Sri Lanka and also pledge to expedite current projects following a meeting between President Rajapaksa and President Hu Jintao in Beijing6. Rajapaksa, on a four-day visit to China, also held discussions with the Minister of Commerce Chen Deming. Bi-lateral trade between the two counties had increased by around 28 per cent. While Chinese exports to Sri Lanka rose by nearly 29 per cent, its imports increased by nearly 30 per cent.