India trains jet bomber support crews

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 09:46 GMT]
India is training a third batch of six Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) personnel at Chandigarh, Punjab to support Colombo’s plans to expand its jet bomber fleet, the Times of India reported this week. Sri Lanka plans to purchase four more jet bombers from Russia and, in preparation, SLAF personnel are being put through three months of instruction. The latest group began training on October 14, despite outrage in Tamil Nadu over the targeting of civilians by SLAF bombers in which over a hundred people have been killed this year.

"We are a group of six and are undergoing electrical first line course for MiG-27s here," SLAF Sergeant Perera told the paper in at Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab.

They started their training programme on October 14 and would end on January 5, 2007, he and another sergeant Srigunasinghe said, adding that theirs was the third batch from Sri Lanka to receive training here.

Another Sri Lankan trainee Ariyadasa said Colombo was going to purchase four aircrafts from Russia and this course would come handy for them.

Srigunasinghe said a batch from their country had received training in basic concepts from Pakistani Air Force in 1999-2000.

Air Marshal A K Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of western air command, who was on an inspection visit here, also interacted with these personnel and inquired about their training programme, the Times of India said.

About the technical type training (tettra) school in Chandigarh, Station Commander, Group Captain B K Sood said it had turned out to be a premier training base for MiG-27 and MiG-29 in the last one year.

On August 14, SLAF jets bombed the Sencholai children’s home in Vallipunam, killing 55 people (51 schoolgirls and four staff) and wounding over 150 wounded.

The bombing sparked condemnation by Tamil Nadu leaders. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi denounced it as an "atrocious and inhumane act" while the Legislative Assembly passed a resolution condemning it.

In the wake of the Sencholai airstrike A former counter-terrorism chief of India’s External intelligence, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), also criticized the targeting of civilians by Sri Lanka’s Air Force.

“The Sri Lankan Government's counter-insurgency operations are becoming increasingly ruthless,” Mr. B Raman said in a report.

“There have been many instances of targeted killing of innocent civilians through actions on the ground as well as from the air.”

“This will only drive more Tamils into the arms of the LTTE,” Raman, who served as additional secretary at the RAW for more than a decade, said.

“Since President Mahinda Rajapakse took over as the President in November last year, more innocent civilians have been killed by the Sri Lankan security forces than in the [recent] past.”


Chronology:


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