Ambassador said that given the congruence of US and Indian concerns and policies, the US was considering whether a joint demarche to President Rajapakse by our two countries might be useful.
68835 6/21/2006 9:15 06COLOMBO1040 Embassy Colombo CONFIDENTIAL 06STATE93949 "VZCZCXYZ0000
DE RUEHLM #1040 1720915
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 210915Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3723
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 9746" "C O N F I D E N T I A L COLOMBO 001040
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/21/2016
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, IN, CE
SUBJECT: INDIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER SHARES OUR CONCERNS ON
SRI LANKA, NON-COMMITTAL ON JOINT DEMARCHE
REF: A. STATE 93949
B. STATE 94541
C. NEW DELHI 4100
D. NEW DELHI 4101
Classified By: Ambassador Jeffrey J. Lunstead for reasons
1,4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Ambassador called on Indian High Commissioner Nirupama Rao June 20 to discuss situation in Sri Lanka, possibility of a US-India joint demarche (ref a), and US proposals for international contact groups on LTTE financing and weapons procurement. Rao had just returned from a two-week vacation in India, although, she said, she had spent much of that time ""in South Block."" Ambassador described for Rao the Co-Chairs Meeting in Tokyo and subsequent visit of SCA Assistant Secretary Boucher to Sri Lanka. Rao said that she, and her
government, shared the US analysis of the situation in Sri Lanka and US concerns about where things were heading. New Delhi believed there was no possible military solution, and would encourage the GSL to seek a negotiated settlement. The GOI's $100 million military credit line would be used only for defensive items--boots, helmets, etc.--and not for offensive weapons--no fighters or tanks.
2. (C) Rao noted that recent events in Sri Lanka were raising the domestic temperature in India. The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu had just the day before passed two resolutions on the situation in Sri Lanka calling on New Delhi to do more to help out. DMK leader M. Karunanidhi had spoken with Prime Minister Singh, who had promised to send a Special Envoy to Chennai to explain what the central government was doing.
3. (C) Ambassador said that given the congruence of US and Indian concerns and policies, the US was considering whether a joint demarche to President Rajapakse by our two countries might be useful. Assistant Secretary Boucher had raised the possibility with the Indian DCM in Washington, and Embassy New Delhi had also discussed it with the MEA. Rao said she was aware of the discussions. While not explicitly ruling out the possibility, ""perhaps,"" she said,"" we could do parallel demarches.""
4. (C) Ambassador also briefed Rao on the US initiative to form two contact groups on LTTE financing and weapons procurement. Rao thought this was a good idea.
5. (C) COMMENT: Rao is much more cautious than her free-wheeling predecessor. While not directly negative about the idea of a joint demarche, she was certainly not encouraging. Whether or not that happens, however, it is clear that US and Indian thinking on Sri Lanka is in close synch.