Voicing opposition to Centre’s proposal to supply two naval warships to Sri Lanka, Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan has said he would urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to sell the vessels.
“I am against the selling of warships to Sri Lanka. I will meet the Prime Minister soon and represent him not to sell the warships,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a private function here last night.
Mr. Vasan said he would also urge Dr. Singh to insist that Colombo implement the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution without dilution to protect the legitimate rights of Tamils.
He had already requested the Union Government to boycott the Commonwealth Summit to be held in Sri Lanka in November and hoped that a decision would be announced soon, Mr. Vasan said.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had on Wednesday expressed shock over New Delhi’s proposal to supply warships to Lanka, saying any move to supply military hardware would be the “most telling statement on the insensitivity” of the Government to the strong sentiments in Tamil Nadu on the Tamils issue.
In a letter to Dr. Singh, she said she was shocked to see media reports in which the “Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (V Narayanasamy) confirms that the Government of India is in the process of supplying two naval warships to Sri Lanka.”
She said while Mr. Narayanasamy appears to have indicated that he would communicate to Dr. Singh the feelings among people and political parties in the state against any such move, “what amazes me is that the Government of India could even contemplate such a move.”
Two Offshore Patrol Vessels, to be built by the Goa-based defence PSU Goa Shipyard Limited, are expected to be delivered to the Island nation by 2017-18.