India firm on Tamil rights in Sri Lanka

Tamil National Alliance leader and Sri Lankan MP R. Sampanthan being greeted by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a Meeting at South Block in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy  

India was keen on engaging with the Sri Lankan government and all political parties to help with the ongoing reconciliation process in the island nation.

This was conveyed to a visiting Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday, signalling broad continuity of the Sri Lankan policy adopted by the United Progressive Alliance government. External Affairs Ministry spokesman said the Minister stressed the need for a political solution that “addresses substantially the aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka for equality, dignity, justice and self respect within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.” The delegation led by R. Sampanthan will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday to put forth a detailed projection of their understanding of the situation and suggestions on India’s engagement in Sri Lanka, the spokesperson said. The TNA delegation includes parliamentarians Mavai Senathirajah, M.A. Sumanthiran, Suresh Premachandran, Selvam Adaikalanathan and P. Selvarajah.

Pointing to “the lack of political will” of the Sri Lankan government to bring about an acceptable political solution, TNA parliamentarian Mr. Sumanthiran said: “We told her that the Sri Lankan government has a very different agenda – militarising the Northern Province, taking away land and changing the demography of the [Tamil-majority] province.”

According to a TNA source, Ms. Swaraj assured the delegation that India would continue to emphasise the need for devolution of powers as per the 13th Amendment, and “going beyond that” for a meaningful solution.

(With additional reporting by Colombo correspondent)

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 1:05:20 AM |

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