Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said on Wednesday that the civilian nuclear agreement with the United States had “nothing to do with the strategic weapons programme.”

Delivering the Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal memorial lecture here, he regretted that domestic debate on the issue had “unfortunately been dominated by other considerations.”

The “reality” was that it was intended to end India’s isolation from global nuclear commerce and to increase its power generation, he said.

Mr. Narayanan expressed disquiet over Sri Lanka’s “single-minded” pursuit of a military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) while ignoring the parallel track of devolution of power to its Tamil-dominated northern and eastern provinces.

The failure of this policy would lead to a potentially explosive situation that could adversely impact Sri Lanka as well as Tamil Nadu. While India was committed to the idea of a unified Sri Lanka, it was equally committed to Colombo treating its minorities equitably.

India was “anxious” over efforts by Sri Lanka to seek arms and ammunition from other countries in the region. Public opinion in the country was divided over India providing (military) support to the island nation, said Mr. Narayanan.

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