COLOMBO, June 22, Reuter: Indian soldiers in Sri Lanka have launched another Offensive against Tamil separatist rebels, Indian diplomats said on ‘Wednesday.

An Indian High Commission (Embassy) spokesman said “Operation Checkmate” was launched on Monday, but gave no further details. Indian military officials Said’ the operation was centered near Mullaitivu, a town on the northeast Coast north of Trincomalee and South of Jaffna.

Last month at least 6,000 soldiers began an attack against a key jungle base of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who refuse to accept a 1987 pact between Colombo and New Delhi to end their five year old insurgency,

The base was in the jungles of Alampil, South West of Mullaitivu, and Sri Lankan military officials speculated the latest operation might be part of a plan to stop rebels holed up in the jungle to flee to Trincomalee.

“It’s totally different operation from Alampil but the number of troops involved would be just about the same,” an Indian official said of the latest operation.

The Alampil offensive was the largest since the October 1987 battle in which Indian troops drove Tiger rebels out of Jaffna at the northern tip of the Island. For the past few weeks Indian diplomats have been saying the Alampil Offensive was now a matter of low key mopping up operations.

The Sri Lankan officials said they expected the Indian army to be more active in hunting Tiger rebels because India has promised by the end of July to prepare the way for elections to autonomous councils in the North and East.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 1, 1988