M A I N   N E W S

India deplores violation of ceasefire in Sri Lanka
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
India today sent a strong signal to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) when it deplored violations of ceasefire in Sri Lanka and called for resumption of talks aimed at strengthening the ceasefire.

This was conveyed in a joint statement released by India and Sri Lanka at the end of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s state visit (December 27-30) to India today.

The Indian stand assumes importance in view of the political sensitivities attached to the LTTE issue and stiff opposition the Manmohan Singh Government is facing from within from its Tamil Nadu allies. Moreover, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha had unilaterally cancelled her appointment with Mr Rajapakse, days after India sent non-lethal military supplies like radars to Colombo.

The joint statement said: “The President of Sri Lanka apprised the Prime Minister of India of recent attacks on Sri Lankan security forces and other ceasefire violations. The two leaders deplored violations of the ceasefire, which could undermine the prospects for peace in Sri Lanka. The Indian side welcomed the Sri Lankan Government’s offer for early resumption of peace talks. Both sides emphasised the need for the strict observance of the ceasefire and immediate resumption of talks aimed at strengthening the ceasefire.“

Mr Rajapaksa held 40-minute-long one-to-one talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He also held wide-ranging discussions with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Shipping Minister T.R. Baalu, and other dignitaries. Mr Rajapakse briefed the Indian leadership on his approach to the peace process to achieve maximum devolution which preserves the unity and territorial integrity of the island nation.

The joint statement said the two sides agreed that an enduring solution could emerge only through internal political processes that promote consensus and reconciliation. India reiterated its support for a process of seeking a negotiated political settlement acceptable to all sections of Sri Lankan society within the framework of an undivided Sri Lanka. It also reflected identity in views on terrorism by saying: “Both sides remain resolutely committed to opposing terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, while reiterating that terrorism can never be justified, either on political, or on religious, or on ideological grounds.” Sri Lanka reiterated that the UN Security Council reform process should facilitate India’s legitimate claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and reaffirmed its support for India.


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