External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Monday reiterated that India would give full help and support to the Tamils in Sri Lanka and it was only through political process a permanent solution could be found for the issue. “Political process has to be expedited ... that only will provide lasting solution to the Tamils issue,” he said in the Rajya Sabha.
Mr. Krishna admitted that much more needed to be done to provide succour to the internally displaced Tamils. India was in touch with Sri Lanka and providing all help to it. Over one lakh internally displaced people were still in camps and efforts were on to resettle them.
The Minister pointed out that India and Sri Lanka always had cordial relations. “The security of both the nations is intertwined. Therefore, both have active cooperation in defence. We maintain defence cooperation with Sri Lanka that is premised on our own national interest.”
Mr. Krishna denied that New Delhi collaborated with Colombo in the recent conflict between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
He assured the members that India was taking up security concerns of its fishermen with the Sri Lankan government, “Their security is of utmost concern to us. A proposal has been made to Colombo for an agreement for the safety of our fishermen.”
Earlier, M. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) alleged that Sri Lankan Tamils were forced to live in inhumane condition in the camps and demanded that a parliamentary delegation be sent to Sri Lanka to get first-hand information. He asked what the government was doing for devolution of powers to help the Sri Lankan Tamils.
D. Raja (CPI) raised the issue of internally displaced Tamils. He asked the government to pressure Sri Lanka to ensure their proper rehabilitation. India must also ensure the early start of political process for devolution of powers.
K. Malaisamy (AIADMK) wanted to know the time frame for the rehabilitation of Tamils. He also raised the issue of Indian fishermen being held or harassed by Sri Lankan forces.