Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday pooh-poohed visiting Sri Lanka Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris’ comment that Tamil Nadu politicians were cynical in raising objections over training of Lankan security personnel in India by stating that “sentiments of the people of the State [TN] have to be respected.”
Mr. Antony told journalists here: “I don’t subscribe to the view that objections or sentiments raised by TN leaders are cynical. Even now, the relief and rehabilitation [in Tamil areas of Lanka] is not going at the expected speed even though they are taking certain actions. There are sentiments in TN and we have to respect that.”
Lanka was India’s close neighbour and the latter had to maintain close relations with them. “There are military institutions in many parts of India and outside Tamil Nadu also. On one side, we will respect sentiments of TN and we will avoid that area. At the same time, in other institutions, we will complete the training [of Lankans] as per our commitment,” he said.
Mr. Peiris had earlier commented that objections by TN politicians over training of Lankan security personnel in India did not matter as no training had been changed.
Following protests by various political parties and organisations in the last few years, the union defence ministry had shifted the training being given by it to the Lankan air force and army personnel in Tambaram and Wellington to defence installations outside Tamil Nadu.