WR: CEYLON: SOVIETS SEND SUPPLIES AS SITUATION STALEMATES

Created: 4/23/1971

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middle east-africa

ceylon: Soviets Send Supplies as Situation Stalemates

has been little change in the security situation, with the insurgents avoiding contact with the government forces and the militarytotatic, defensive posture.the government controls the major cities, the rebels apparently hold about ten large areas plus several scattered small pockets throughout the island.

posedly the cream of Sinhalese-Buddhist youth, are being eliminated by "reactionaries" acting in conjunction with Ceylon's Tamil-Hindu minority. The current presence of Indian troops andin Ceylon could lend credibility to such an allegation,

In the initial days of the insurrection Prime Minister Bandaranaike was reportedly suspicious

Ihe^

Thus far. government forces have managed to contain major insurgent activity, but it is st possible that an all-out effort by the guerrillas could till Ihe balance in theirhe munist farty/feking (Ctf/H) and all its front organizations plan to join the insurgentaround the end of this mon

:ven it the smal were to side openly with'the rebels, however, it is unlikely that the insurgents would have the strength required for victory in the near future. There is no evidence that the CCP/P, in making its reported decision to join the insurgents, wasunder orders from Peking.

ley also hope to gain increasea popular supp<esult of public and parliamentary criticism of the summary executions of captured insurgents by the security forces. The rebels believe that Sinhalese politicians sympathetic to their cause will play on the theme that the insurgents, sup-

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Chinese Communist involvement in theOnpril, however. Ihe Chinesecalled on her, and the following day the Government of Ceylontatementrumorjhipment of constructionbrought in by the Chinese in connection with the building of the Bandaranaike Memorial Hall in Colombo had sinister implications.

Meanwhile, the power struggle betweenand moderates within the governmont has continued. The leftists have regained some ground, after initially being suspected by Prime Minister Bandaranaike of backing the insurgents. Five of the original seven members on acommittee on reconstruction, whom she appointed, are prominent representatives of the far left. She later added two more moderates to the group, however, and at present neither side appears to be dominant. The leftist comeback may bey-product of recentlySoviet military aid to Ihe government.

The USSR's militarycarrying sixet fighters, twoight helicopters and an unknown number of armored personnel carriers-is more than half completed. Tennd tworansports areto deliver the military equipment, the first Ceylon has received from Ihe USSR. Late last year Moscow agreed to provide Ceylon's Air Force with six helicoptersradebut Colombo chose instead to rely onaircraft, with which Ceyloneso personnel were more familiar.

At leastoviet personnel have arrived to assemble the new equipment and to train the

Ceyionese in its use. The Immediate practicality of the MIGs is questionable. Although one high-ranking Ceyionese Air Force officer claimed that Soviet personnel will fly combat missions with Ceyionese trainees at their side, an armystated that the Ceyionese would not use the MIGs until their own pilots could fly them. If Soviet equipment is to be used effectively in the near future, however, the Soviets or otherforeign pilots will probably have to fly the planes. In view ot the publicity accorded recent Soviet deliveries. Moscow will probably beto become prominently involved in quelling the insurgents.

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A number of factors presumably influenced tho Soviet decision to come to the aid of Ihe Bandaranaike government. Moscow regards the united front governmentistinctover its predecessor and is particularly loosed that it includes the Ceylon Communist arty/Moscow. The Soviets have little sympathy for the tactics of the "Cheoscow probably feared that the uprising wouldight-wing reaction that would threaten recent leftist gains. The USSR, moreover, was aware of its vulnerability to charges of complicity wilh the insurgents because some of the leaders of the movement had studied in Moscow. In making their decision, the Soviets probably were also encouraged by the knowledge that their moves were in line with those of the Indian Government, which has also provided military assistance to Ceylon. They also were probably happy to have the opportunity to establish themselves as an arms supplier, and to offset the credit gained by Western countries in giving prompt support to the Ceylonese.i

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