Friday, May 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No arms supply to Lanka: PM
Chandrika invokes PSA

NEW DELHI, May 4 (PTI, UNI, AP) — The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today ruled out the supply or sale of arms to Sri Lanka to help the island nation tackle the situation in Jaffna peninsula in the wake of the ongoing conflict with the LTTE.

“There is no question of sending or selling arms to Sri Lanka. Both are ruled out,” Mr Vajpayee said after an hour-long meeting of the BJP allies from Tamil Nadu to discuss the issue.

To a question whether there was an agreement on India sending humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka at the meeting, he said there was a “perfect understanding” among the NDA constituents on the issue.

Asked what kind of humanitarian aid the government could consider, Mr Vajpayee said “if the need arises, we can, for example, send food, medicine and cloth. This is what we visualise.”

Asked to elaborate on the kind of requests received from Colombo, he said, “No agreed proposals were put forth.... Our policy has been that we favour a united Sri Lanka.”

To questions relating to reported complaints by the DMK that it was not consulted on the issue, the Prime Minister said, “The events moved so swiftly. We got the entire picture only after the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister (Lakshman Kadirgamar) met me yesterday. There was no prior information.”

The meeting was attended by Defence Minister George Fernandes, Home Minister L.K. Advani, Commerce Minister Murasoli Maran, Environment Minister T.R. Baalu, Power Minister P.R. Kumaramangalam, Petroleum Minister Ponnuswamy and Mr Vaiko.

Meanwhile, the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, today assured Parliament that India would neither militarily intervene in Sri Lanka nor supply weapons to it to overcome the ethnic crisis.

Mr Jaswant Singh admitted that India had received some requests from the Sri Lanka Government in the context of the present situation and these were “receiving urgent consideration of the government”.

A report from Chennai said the Tamil Nadu Government said, on Thursday that the Centre should not despatch arms and ammunition to help the beleaguered Sri Lankan Army as it would be used to kill Tamils in the northern part of the island nation.

“At no cost should India be responsible for the killing of Tamils in the island republic”, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi told the state Assembly.

COLOMBO: After putting the nation on a war status, the Chandrika government on Thursday gave sweeping powers to the military, police and administration to deal with the Tamil rebels’ threat to split the country. “The Public Security Act was enforced with effect from midnight to ban all activities designed to encourage terrorism and disrupt the normal activities of the people,” the state-run radio said.

As the Tamil rebels threatened to retake their former capital Jaffna, President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s Cabinet met on Wednesday and decided to suspend for three months all development projects not considered urgent and divert funds to the war effort.

Meanwhile, after India firmly ruled out military intervention to halt LTTE’s military offensive to recapture northern Jaffna, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga in a swift move on Thursday re-established diplomatic relations with Israel and promulgated an ordinance assuming sweeping powers to put the country on a war footing.

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