B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has described the winning of the trust vote in the Lok Sabha by the Manmohan Singh government as a ‘blessing in disguise’ for the island nation.

At a news conference here, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) general secretary and senior Minister Maithripala Sirisena said a stable India helped Sri Lanka in its operations against the LTTE.

He was has been quoted by the local media as saying that had the UPA government been defeated, there would be instability not only in India but also in the entire South Asian region. “This outcome is a blessing for Sri Lanka. It is not a secret that India helps our military operations.”

Mr. Sirisena said if the UPA government had lost the trust vote, it would have led to a general election and in the run-up to an election, no country could make vital policy decisions. “Sri Lanka will also feel the pinch in such a situation as India is the regional giant.”

Karunanidhi’s proposal

On Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi proposing to the Centre to take over the Kachchativu island from Sri Lanka, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has said the government does not maintain diplomatic relations with a State government. “We will deal only with the central government,” he said.

Colombo was concerned about the ‘domestic problems’ faced by the Government of India on issues related to fishermen, he said.

“We cannot put up walls in the sea to demarcate boundaries. Fishermen come to fish. We are vigilant about possible LTTE activities being committed in the guise of fishing. Therefore, this should be considered a logistical problem.”

Tamil Nadu and Pondichery Fishermen’s Federation Advisor N. Devoos called on Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera here and discussed the problems faced by Indian fishermen.

The Minister told Mr. Devoos that the government, as a matter of policy, approached the problems of fishermen on a humanitarian basis and the LTTE was trying to take advantage of the situation.