No US Special Forces in Sri Lanka: Military

Last Updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 14:05

Colombo: Sri Lanka on Saturday rejected a top US
military commander`s statement that American Special Forces
were deployed in the island nation.

There was no American or any other foreign forces
stationed in the country, Sri Lankan military spokesman Brig
Nihal Hapuarachchi said.

His remarks follow a top Pentagon commander`s statement
that the US Special Forces teams were stationed in India, Sri
Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives as part of
counter-terrorism cooperation.

These teams, he claimed, had been deployed by US Pacific
Command (PACOM) as part of its effort to enhance their
counter-terrorism capabilities, in particular in the maritime
domain.

"We have currently special forces assist teams - Pacific
assist teams is the term - laid down in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri
Lanka, Maldives, as well as India," Admiral Robert Willard,
the PACOM Commander, told US lawmakers at a Congressional
hearing on Thursday.

India also yesterday rejected his statement, with its
Defence Ministry saying that "US Special Forces Teams have
never been stationed in India in the past, nor are such teams
stationed in the country presently."

Brigadier Hapuarachchi, however, said the Sri Lankan army
had invited four countries -- which he did not identify -- to
come with teams comprising 68 foreign servicemen attached to
elite Special Forces for its annual `Comoran Strike` SEAL
(Sea, Air and Land) training exercise, which is to be held in
September.

The exercise, in which 2,500 Sri Lankan servicemen would
participate, was aimed at enhancing the striking capabilities,
especially in amphibious warfare operations.

The training is focused on improving decision-making,
commanding and efficiency in deciding command capabilities at
a given situation, Hapuarachchi said.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 14:05

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