India will help create a conducive situation for the Sri Lankan army to withdraw from the island’s Northern Province as there can be peace only after demilitarisation, Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan said here on Thursday.
He told presspersons here that Sri Lanka went ahead with the conduct of the Northern Provincial Council election as scheduled only due to the Union government’s pressure.
“Now, the newly elected Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council, C.V. Wigneswaran, has said his first demand is that the Sri Lanka military should leave the area. The Indian government will create a situation for that. Then only peace will return there,” Mr. Vasan said.
He added that India will urge Sri Lanka to treat the Tamils there with dignity and equal rights.
Mr. Vasan also said the Central government was keen on implementing the Sethudamudram shipping canal project. “The United Progressive Alliance government has decided to implement the project for economic reasons and without any damage to the environment and marine wealth and fisheries,” Mr. Vasan said.
“Congress is always the first front in the country. I don't know about the second or third front”, Mr. Vasan said, when asked about electoral fronts for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The Congress also knew well about the feelings and expectations of the people and so would continue to enjoy the people’s support, he said.
Asked to comment on Narendra Modi's visit to Tiruchi, Mr. Vasan said Mr. Modi was doing it only because he was chosen as his party’s prime ministerial candidate. But Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have been touring the country for many years to serve the people.