Feature Article

U.S. naval partnership with genocidal Sri Lanka escalates with New Delhi's blessings

[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 August 2018, 22:50 GMT]
U.S. Navy's amphibious transport vessel USS Anchorage (LPD 23) docked at the harbour of Trincomalee, the capital city of occupied Tamil Eelam, on Friday. The “ships visits help demonstrate the value of the growing U.S.-Sri Lanka partnership,” said Capt. Dennis Jacko, commanding officer of Anchorage, according to a news release from the Public Affairs of the naval ship. Around 300 SL naval academy midshipmen and 40 ‘distinguished visitors’, were scheduled to tour Anchorage to learn about the ship’s amphibious capabilities, the news release further said. The latest US naval deployment off Trincomalee is the first one after the US Pacific Command (USPACOM) renamed itself into US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), incorporating India as a “major defence partner” of the USA in the Indian Ocean Region.

USS Anchorage
USS Anchorage [Photo courtesy: Facebook page of USS Anchorage]


Meanwhile, the SL Navy is acquiring US Coast Guard's ‘last active warship to have sunk an enemy vessel in combat’ this month at Honolulu in Hawaii as a gift.

USCG Sherman
Decommissioned USCG Sherman, USA's gift to genocidal Sri Lanka in 2018
The 378-foot high endurance cutter, USCG Sherman (WHEC 720), was in service during the Vietnam War in November 1970 when it intercepted and assisted other U.S. ships in sinking a North Vietnamese supply trawler. It was decommissioned earlier this month after 50 years of service.

Sherman is the second USCG vessel to be gifted by the USA to the navy of genocidal Sri Lanka.

Courageous
Decommissioned USCG Courageous, USA's gift to genocidal Sri Lanka in 2004
The first one, USCG Courageous/SLNS Samudura, gifted to Colombo by Washington in June 2004, was intercepting and destroying the LTTE vessels on the high seas in the run-up to the genocidal war in 2009.

The latest deployment of the US Navy off Trincomalee also comes after SL Navy taking part in the first time in the “Rim of the Pacific Exercise” which is known as RIMPAC. Brazil, Israel and Vietnam were the other countries joining the RIMPAC for the first time this year.

LTTE Sea Tiger transport between North and East in 2006 [TamilNet File Photo]


26 countries, 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 military forces along with 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel took part in the 26th RIMPAC held in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California between June 27 and August 02.



Last year, the US Navy was conducting “Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)” for the first time in Trincomalee. It was part of a series of bilateral CARAT military exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand.

US Marines in Trincomalee with SL military
US Marine Sgt. Anthony Sandusky, a squad leader with Alpha Co., Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 4th Marines, 11th Marines Expeditionary Unit, high-fives a ‘Sri Lankan’ Marine as he runs by during physical training as part of a TSC training at Trincomalee on Nov. 24, 2016. Around 325 US Marines and Sailors and 175 SL Navy sailors took part in the TSC engagement. [U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Zachery Laning/Released. Courtesy of Defence Video & Imagery Distribution System website: www.dvidshub.net]


The official news release of the U.S. Navy claims that the latest visit of USS Anchorage was “to support regional stability, reassure partners and allies and maintain a presence postured to respond to any crisis ranging from humanitarian assistance to contingency operations.”

Capt. Dennis Jacko, the commanding officer of Anchorage of the USS Anchorage, has gone on record stating it was the first time they were testing “temporary air logistics hub concept” in the island.

Robert Hilton, the Chargé d’affaires ad interim of the US Embassy in Colombo, has said that their mission was excited “to try out the air logistics hub concept which utilises Sri Lanka’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean.”

USS Anchorage, docked at Trincomalee
USS Anchorage, docked at Trincomalee [Photo courtesy: U.S. Embassy in Colombo]


The latest renaming of USPACOM to USINDOPACOM is seen as a tactical move against Chinese military and economic hegemony in the region.

As far as the current New Delhi Establishment is concerned, the geostrategic access to Trincomalee port has become an issue to be decided by Washington.

The US access to Trincomalee is compatible with the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord, a Colombo-based journalist well-connected to the New Delhi Establishment, said.

“The U.S. naval engagement in Trincomalee is part of New Delhi's Indian Ocean Policy,” the source further claimed on condition of anonymity.

Coinciding with the docking of the U.S. amphibious warfare ship, the Reuters news agency filed a report, which was titled “China aims to build houses, roads in Sri Lanka north to extend sway”.

The Reuters story was quoting Luo Chong, the chief of the political section at China's embassy in Colombo, on the generic Chinese drive in securing commercial contracts and was referring to an old Chinese bid to a housing contract.

Furthermore, the report was referring to TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran as saying that the proposed Chinese housing contract had been scrapped and that the SL authorities were now considering an Indian solution as the people on the ground were demanding brick houses instead of the concrete structures planned by the Chinese firm. (The Reuters story didn't talk about the sharp opposition from Tamils to SL military becoming sub-contractor of local and foreign contractors, regardless of China, India or a Western agency being the principal contractor or provider of assistance to housing projects in the North-East.)

In the meantime, grassroots activists in Champoor, Trincomalee, said that the Chinese interest to secure commercial contracts in the North-East cannot be equated or compared with the US drive to groom a marine force of the occupation navy of genocidal Sri Lanka in their traditional village at the cost of their lands, livelihood and culture.

Their residential lands, as well as agricultural lands, have been acquired in massive-scale and the people are subjected to continuous harassments as well as cultural and environmental occupation by various SL departments facilitating the SL Navy to expand its SLNS Vidura training base, which is also the headquarters of the marine force of the SL Navy.

Champoor people also complained that opposition leader and TNA parliamentarian from their district, R. Sampanthan, as having failed to de-militarise their villages in Moothoor East.

In the past, Mr Sampanthan was concerned about Rajapaksa-linked Chinese manoeuvres and didn't want to object to Indian proposed coal power plant.

India had more grip on the TNA during the times of the Congress regime, before and after 2009, through R. Sampanthan.

Now, the TNA hierarchy is primarily controlled by the USA, especially after the ‘Singapore Principles’ of 2013, Tamil political observers in Jaffna said.

Mr Sumanthiran, the chief proponent of the Western discourse, has gone on record in Jaffna confirming that the TNA hierarchy was intentionally avoiding political visits to New Delhi.



At the same time, the nuanced differences in the approaches between the Indian and US geopolitical approaches also seem to have vanished, especially after the ‘USA-Sri Lanka consensus resolution’ at Geneva in October 2015, the political observers in Jaffna observed further.

The New Delhi Establishment, currently locked in the U.S. geopolitics of strategic partnership, is again committing the grave failure by neglecting to look at the permanent security of the region through ensuring the parity of sovereign rights between the traditional homelands of Tamil and Sinhala people in the island, they added.

They pointed out the repeated pleas made to India by Eezham Tamils, primarily by the Chief Minister of Northern Province, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran.



The NPC Chief Minister was requesting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Jaffna to prioritise political solution to the national question of Eezham Tamils beyond the outlook of 13th Amendment and its meaningless devolution of power under the unitary state of Sri Lanka. He was seeking a power-sharing based model.

However, all such requests have gone in vain, the political observers in Jaffna said.

The Indian PM Narendra Modi seems to have virtually outsourced both the political solution and the management of the geopolitical affairs of the island to Singapore-principles and the ‘US-Sri Lanka consensus’ of the so-called ‘transitional justice’ outlook of the West.

How is justice possible without a real transition, the political observers ask.

Thus, the Singapore-principle-based discourse and the so-called ‘transitional justice’ paradigm has worsened the situation of the occupied nation of Eezham Tamils, which is witnessing an ever-escalating structural genocide on the ground.

It is under these circumstances the USS Anchorage has docked at the Eastern port city and the capital of occupied Tamil Eelam.

USS Anchorage
Amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) photographed in Pacific Ocean on 20 July, 2017 [Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse Monford]


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External Links:
Military.Com: Storied Coast Guard Ship Retires After 50 Years of Service
Reuters: China aims to build houses, roads in Sri Lanka north to extend sway
US Embassy in Colombo: USS Anchorage & 13th MEU Arrive in Sri Lanka
U.S. Navy: U.S. Navy Announces 26th Rim of the Pacific Exercise


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