Defence circles are agog with reports about an offer by the French to sell one of their frigates in the Indian Ocean fleet to the Sri Lanka Navy. The price? A cool 60 million US dollars or Rs 3540 million.
Some top Navy officials shrugged off at the idea but who knows? There is still time to make up their mind for 734 Vendemiare is now at the Galle harbour. It is one of the frigates belonging to the supply and command vessel Le Somme that called at the Colombo Port two weeks ago. According to one senior Navy official, it is not only the price that is enormous but also the size of the frigate for a small navy like in Sri Lanka. Commander Gerard Valin, 13 officers and 78 sailors are showing off the fire power of 734 Vendermiare and at the same time enjoying the delights of Galle.
Army Commander Rohan De S. Daluwatte has ordered that a senior Colonel and Major be called upon to face court martial for being involved in alleged malpractices.
The Colonel is said to have made wooden frames (for doors and windows) at an Army Worshop in the outskirts of the City and transported them to the hill country where he was building a house. The detection was made by the Military Police The Major is alleged to have repaired Army vehicles at a non existent garage. Cheques paid by the Army for such repairs had been credited to his private account.
The Cold War may be over and the super powers may be looking forward to a new era with the turn of the century. That is not to say that the cloak and dagger operations, I mean the James Bond type, has ended.
Certainly not in Colombo. They are snooping in a big way to find out why Generals from the Pentagon, top rungers from the US Armys Pacific Command and Socpac (Special Operations Command Pacific) are making frequent visits to Colombo. Perhaps next month or two will reveal more.
But the snoopers have not stopped at that. Another inquiry centers on whether the Secret Service men have also arrived in the City to train a new, local unit. Well, well ..
Its better they find the answers themselves.
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