Rajapaksa to allay India’s concerns over Tamil civiliansNovember 11th, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS
Male, Nov 11 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa headed to New Delhi Tuesday with a clear message that while he understands the political compulsions behind India’s concerns about civilian suffering in his country, Colombo will pursue its war against the Tamil Tigers, an aide to Rajapaksa said here. Rajapaksa was among a galaxy of foreign leaders who attended the swearing-in ceremony of Maldives’ new President Mohamed Nasheed here Tuesday morning. Nasheed, a former political prisoner, unseated Asia’s longest serving ruler, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, in elections last month.
Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari, seated next to Rajapaksa at the swearing-in ceremony, informally discussed the situation in Sri Lanka with the president.
“We understand the political compulsions of the Indian government. But our position is very clear: we will move ahead with the military action against the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) while ensuring that civilians don’t suffer,” a close aide to Rajapaksa who did not wish to be named told IANS.
“India knows the LTTE well. They are terrorists and have to be handled as terrorists. We are trying to help civilians by protecting them from the LTTE,” he said, while referring to the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber.
He was responding to a question on India’s concerns about the humanitarian consequences of the military conflict in Sri Lanka.
The situation in Sri Lanka became a touchy issue in India with MPs from Tamil Nadu earlier threatening to resign from parliament over the war that has left many dead and thousands homeless.
“The situation is stabilising. We are also progressing in the direction of devolution (of power) and lasting political reforms,” the aide said, while trying to dispel the perception in India that Sri Lanka was not doing enough to address the issue of meaningful political reforms.
Rajapaksa flew to New Delhi from Male. He is likely to hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday and is expected to update him about the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) proposals for power sharing as an answer to the Tamil separatist conflict.
He will attend in New Delhi Thursday a summit that brings together seven countries from South and Southeast Asia in pursuit of greater connectivity and regional integration.
Leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Thailand will hold talks on regional issues Wednesday.
- Indian MPs slam Sri Lanka for 'war crimes' (Lead) - Aug 25, 2011
- Maldives crisis deepens, India pushes for political deal (Roundup) - Feb 10, 2012
- Nasheed held world's first underwater cabinet meeting - Feb 07, 2012
- India wanted LTTE 'put in its place': Norway report - Nov 11, 2011
- Rights group concerned over Maldives turmoil - Feb 13, 2012
- Amid Tamil Nadu unrest, Manmohan to meet Rajapaksa - Sep 18, 2012
- Nasheed disappointed with India, says Maldives ex-foreign minister (Interview) - Feb 12, 2012
- Nasheed disappointed with India, says Maldives ex-foreign minister (Interview) (Lead) - Feb 12, 2012
- NSA to go to Colombo, voice India's concerns - Jun 25, 2012
- Sri Lanka, Singapore sign trade agreement - Feb 16, 2012
- A candid post-mortem of the LTTE (Book Review) - Jul 16, 2012
- Maldives president quits after protests (Second Lead) - Feb 07, 2012
- Male calm as new president readies national government (Lead) - Feb 08, 2012
- Will get Sri Lankan Tamils their rights: Jayalalithaa - Aug 11, 2011
- Maldives crisis festers, India pushes for political deal (Lead) - Feb 10, 2012