India & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam
India seeks solution within a
United and Federal Sri Lanka
PTI, 16 November
"India's interest in a solution to the ethnic
problem there that would protect the interests of that country's
Tamil citizens within the framework of a united and federal Sri
Lanka, is deep and continuous" - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan
CHENNAI: Expressing concern over the recent developments in Sri
Lanka and the Tamils' plight there, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he will
convey India's concern to the Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse in an
appropriate fashion during the latter's visit to the country.
In a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Singh said Foreign
Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon would also be visiting Colombo to convey India's
concern to the Sri Lankan Government and the need to provide Tamils there the
same rights and privileges as enjoyed by other citizens in the country.
He said India is taking note of situation in northern and eastern parts of Sri
Lanka was dispatching 5,200 tonnes of rice, 1,500 tonnes of sugar and 300 tonnes
of milk powder.
On the current situation in Sri Lanka, Singh said, "We are making known our deep
concern and anguish at the recent spurt of violence in Sri Lanka, which has
resulted in civilian casualities among the Tamil population. There can be no
justification for the killing of innocent women and children."
Singh said the Centre would reiterate to the Lankan government that there is no
military solution to the problem in that country and that the only way out was a
negotiated political settlement to accomodate the genuine rights of Tamils
through a process of devolution of powers.
"India's interest in a solution to the ethnic problem there that would protect
the interests of that country's Tamil citizens within the framework of a united
and federal Sri Lanka, is deep and continuous," the Prime Minister said.
"However, the priority at this time has to be to ensure full respect for
humanitarian standards, so that civilian casulties are prevented," Singh said.
He said the leader of the DMK party in Parliament T R Baalu had met him and
handed over a letter enclosing a copy of the statement dated November 10 on the
killing of hundreds of Tamils in Sri Lanka by the Sri Lanka armed forces.
Karunanidhi, in a recent statement had expressed concern over the recent
killings and stated that the time was ripe for the Centre to rethink and find an
answer to the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka.
"How long is India going to keep patient," he had asked.