Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday replied to the letter of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Sarath Fonseka seeking permission for pre-mature retirement.

Frenzied political activity is expected in the next few days as Mr. Rajapaksa is to preside over the convention of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on Sunday to consider dates for the general election and a possible presidential election, amid sufficient indications that "war hero" General Fonseka is all geared up to enter politics. Mr. Rajapaksa's response to General Fonseka's letter was not immediately known. Among the reasons given by General Fonseka, the coup scenario and the India factor has generated enormous excitement.

On the events of October 15, General Fonseka noted: "With a pain of mind it was noted that the same army which gained victory for the nation was suspected of staging a coup and thereby alerting the government of India once again on the 15th of October 2009, unnecessarily placing the Indian troops on high alert".

Political observers here have also taken note of General Fonseka's concern, expressed in the resignation letter, over the plight of Tamil internally displaced persons and see it as an attempt by him to reach out to Mr. Rajapaksa's political rivals. It would be watched with interest how the General convinces the Tamils that he is a better bet than Mr. Rajapaksa in serving their interests.

Meanwhile, the visiting commander of the Pakistani Air Force Air Chief Marshal Rao Kamar Suleman met Mr. Rajapaksa at the President's house in Kandy. Mr. Rajapaksa thanked him for the timely action taken by the Pakistani Air Force when the Sri Lankan Cricket team was attacked in Lahore in March.

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