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Manmohan ignores demand for Eelam
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Tiruchi, May 9
Rejecting the demand of major political parties in Tamil Nadu including UPA ally, the DMK, for the creation a separate homeland for Sri Lankan Tamils, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said it was not easy to march armies into a sovereign state.

Favouring a solution to the crisis within a united Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister told reporters in Chennai "we are dealing with a sovereign country". There are such things as international laws and those who were making tall promises knew them, he said.

He was replying to a question on AIADMK chief's Jayalalithaa's remarks that a government backed by her party would send army to the island nation for the creation of a separate Tamil Eelam.

He also suggested that any action by India should not make Sri Lanka go for "other options" and there could be no military solution. Only a negotiated solution that ensured that Tamils lived with self-respect, peace and dignity was necessary, he said.

The Prime Minister also denied allegations that the Centre was providing military assistance to Sri Lanka.

When asked why India could not snap ties with Sri Lanka, he said "We are living in very uncertain times. In dealing with sovereign countries who have options other than dealing with India, sometimes we can hurt the wider national interests by taking a narrow shortsighted view".

He also ruled out resumption of composite dialogue with Pakistan till it takes effective steps to bring to book the culprits of the Mumbai terror attacks.

"Our minimum demand is that Pakistan must take effective steps to bring the culprits of Mumbai massacre to book before we resume our dialogue," he said.

He pointed out that India was engaged with Pakistan in the composite dialogue for the last five years until the Mumbai massacre.

On Pakistan's offensive against the Taliban, Manmohan Singh said "We wish Pakistan well" and warned that the growing influence of Taliban was not in the interest of Pakistan and the South Asia region.

In a bid to pacify the DMK, which is upset over the Rahul Gandhi's comments on forging ties with the AIADMK, he said "the DMK is our only ally in Tamil Nadu". He also praised Karunanidhi saying that the State had developed under his leadership.

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