Former Sri Lankan army chief for close ties with India

Colombo, Nov 29 ( Sri Lanka’s former army chief and opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential election, General (retd) Sarath Fonseka said here Sunday that he was looking forward to close ties with India.

“I have always maintained a close friendship with India as a military officer”, Fonseka told reporters while launching his presidential bid.

Fonseka, 58, served as army commander in the final offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May, ending a 26-year civil war. He was later named chief of defence staff, a largely ceremonial post.

Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying that the Indian government had given moral support to Sri Lanka throughout the island’s successful military campaign against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

“I am a fan of India especially Indian movies and music. There were times when I cut school to watch Indian movies,” Fonseka said.

Fonseka is now backed by the opposition to contest in the Jan 26, 2010 poll.