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Updated: November 16, 2013 03:12 IST

I wanted my PM to go there first, says Khurshid

PTI
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Salman Khurshid. File Photo: AP
Salman Khurshid. File Photo: AP

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday expressed regret that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not visit Jaffna, a feat undertaken by his British counterpart David Cameron, who became the first head of government to visit the war-torn northern province in Sri Lanka since its independence in 1948.

“Is it not sad? Who is to blame? I wanted my PM to go there first. I was the second Indian foreign minister to go there [after the war]. But who do I blame for it? I am only disappointed that I could not take the Prime Minister to an area where we are building 50,000 houses. We can’t show him this and the roads and projects that we are building [in Jaffna],” he told reporters.

Mr. Khurshid was answering questions on the historic visit Mr. Cameron made to Jaffna after the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth summit.

There were plans for Dr. Singh to visit Jaffna before going to Colombo but it was nixed by the strong opposition from Tamil Nadu. Northern province Chief Minister C.S. Wigneswaran had invited the Prime Minister to visit Jaffna. Mr. Khurshid said he did not want to blame anyone.

Mr. Khurshid also made it clear that India has conveyed to Sri Lanka its concerns over the alleged gross abuse of human rights during the war against the LTTE and for not properly addressing the concerns of the Tamils on the issue.

“Our stand has been exactly that there has to be truth and reconciliation must go on. If you want to move and build a society, then you need to address their [Tamils’] concerns,” he said.

“These are very serious concerns and they will have to address them within Sri Lanka not in New Delhi or Washington,” he said when asked about India’s stand on the allegations of war crimes during the campaign against LTTE.

Countries like Britain and Canada have openly expressed reservations over Sri Lanka rejecting demands for independent probe into these allegations, an issue that has clouded the ongoing Commonwealth summit.

The Minister said India could only express its concerns while it was for the people and government of Sri Lanka to address them. “Our job is to help them and incentivise them to do it.”

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If PM wanted to go to Jaffna, he could have gone earlier before CHOGM was started. It is
not far from India. There were so many opportunities. Indian government does not have
any nerve to function on its own. Congress is not acting genuinely for human rights, its
PM staying away from CHOGM because of afraid of loosing Tamils vote.

from:  karan
Posted on: Nov 16, 2013 at 10:51 IST

Who will benefit from lamenting after the event.
Even better, don't blame any one! just keep on muttering the same old mantra reconciliation, violations of human rights, war crimes and blame the GoSL for every thing.

from:  NAK
Posted on: Nov 16, 2013 at 08:53 IST

Then why did you and your PM waited for 3 years? Your PM could have gone there in 2010, 2011, or 2012.

from:  SG
Posted on: Nov 16, 2013 at 06:47 IST
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