Sri Lanka doesn’t have Tamils on its side: India

August 12th, 2008 - 2:37 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) Sri Lanka may win the battle against the Tamil Tigers but not the war as “they haven’t got the Tamil population on their side”, India’s National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan said in an interview published Tuesday. In comments that are bound to prove explosive in Sri Lanka, Narayanan told The Straits Times newspaper: “I know the Sri Lankan government will be unhappy (at this advice).”

Narayanan was asked to give his assessment if the dragging war in Sri Lanka was nearing an end.

He said: “The (Sri Lanka Army) has made a lot of progress in the last few weeks. But even if they win the battle I am not sure they will win the war. I think they haven’t got the Tamil population on their side.

“I know the Sri Lankan government will be unhappy (at this advice) but we are not interested in preaching to them and that is the best advice they could get. India can give this advice better than the Norwegians or any other country. These are people that we know, we understand. Do they want a situation like many countries have faced?”

Stating that Iraq was a good example, Narayanan said: “What we are telling them is, get the Tamils on your side by greater devolution of power. For them to be part of Sri Lankan state, they need the huge Tamil minority on their side.

“Obviously the Tamil Tigers have been weakened, they have met with heavier casualties than previously.”

He said recruitment had become difficult, so younger and younger elements were coming into it. “All signs are that they (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE) are having problems. They are also hurting because of the ban in many Western countries, so they have problems in fund collection, movement of arms.

“What the Sri Lankans are not factoring in is the great deal of sullenness in the Tamil man. There are accusations of profiling even in Colombo.

“Our argument is: unless you give Tamils a feeling they have the right to their own destiny in many matters you will not succeed. LTTE’s capacity to carry out terrorist attacks is not diminished.”

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