Lanka appoints first Tamil Navy chief after four decades

Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah was 19 August 2017 appointed as the chief of Sri Lankas naval forces, making him the first from the minority Tamil community to head the Navy since the brutal civil war erupted in the country 45 years ago. Sinniah, who played a decisive role in the destruction of the LTTE warships in deep sea during the height of the civil war, was appointed as the Navy chief by President Maithripala Sirisena. Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah, who has served Sri Lanka Navy with immense loyalty for many decades, took office as the Navy Commander 19 August 2017.

His services will be effective from August 22. Sinniah succeeds Vice Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne who has retired.
He is the second Tamil to head the Lankan Navy after Rajan Kadirgamar, who was the commander in the late 1960s. Sinniah is the first from the Tamil community to head the Navy since the outbreak of the civil war in the north and east of the island in 1972. He successfully commanded a mission in 2007 to destroy the LTTEs weapons smuggling ships in international waters off Indonesia and Australia, that is considered as Sri Lankan Navys biggest achievement.

The LTTE waged a war with the government to carve out a separate Tamil homeland in the regions with the conflict ending in 2009. Tamils in the country claim discrimination at the hands of the Sinhala majority. According to UN figures, up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces during Rajapaksas regime that brought an end to the brutal civil war with with the defeat of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009

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