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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2584

Indian Foreign Secretary, NSA to Colombo; DMK strike call gets mixed response

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 24 April, ( India is sendingMenon & NarayanMenon & Narayan foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and National Security Advisor M K Narayanan to Colombo, according to minister of state for external affairs Anand Sharma. The visit followed a high level review of the situation in Northern Sri Lanka, where contrary to assessments of Colombo, more than a lakh of Tamils have already arrived even as some 30,000 are held hostage by the LTTE.

India has dispatched a shipload of nearly 40,000 packets relief material after discussions with the Sri Lankan officials, it is said. Last November 1,680 tons of essential supplies were sent for distribution among the internally displaced people.

British Foreign secretary David Miliband reportedly discussed the situation in Sri Lanka with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in a move seen as the first indication of some coordinated global action on the Sri Lanka issue.

Miliband said UK favored a ‘fully inclusive’ political process for lasting peace in Sri Lanka. He also shared Indian view that there could be no military solution to Sri Lanka tangle. ‘We have always been very clear that there can be no military solution. Lasting peace in Sri Lanka can only come about through a fully inclusive political process that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lanka's communities - Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. We have...been very clear with the Sri Lankan government that democratically elected governments are rightly held to higher account for their actions than terrorist organizationss, he told British Parliament.

Home Minister P Chidambaram, who is standing for the Lok Sabha from Sivaganga constituency once again, said, ‘We have pressed the Sri Lankan Government to stop the war. It is not a mere request to the Sri Lankan government to stop the war. It is more than that. We have said there is a need to stop the war’.

‘At the same time we are also pressing the LTTE to stop the war. I hope our request will yield fruit. If there is no result, the Sri Lankan government and all the people living in that country will be affected in a big way,’ he told reporters at Karaikudi.

Chidambaram ducked a question about Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's demand for snapping diplomatic ties with the Lankan government if it did not stop the war. He said it is a serious issue and it cannot be discussed in a press meet.

Asked whether LTTE Chief Prabhakaran would be given asylum, the minister replied: ‘I can't comment. It is a legal issue’.

DMK Strike

Tamil Nadu observed a day-long strike on Thursday on a call given by DMK to express its disquiet over the Sri Lankan scene and to press its demand. Public transport was off the road in Chennai. Overall, the response to the strike call was a mixed one.

Chidambaram described the strike called by DMK as an ‘expression of anguish against killing of Tamils’ in Sri Lanka. He said the strike was not against the Delhi Government or the Congress. ‘It (strike) is for stopping the hostilities there in that country’.

Jayalalithaa and her allies in the AIADMK led front did not support the strike, terming the strike call as a ‘farce and drama’.

Karunananidhi hit out at Jayalalithaa for not supporting the strike, saying ‘Tamil cause should not be lost because of some betrayers. Let us not listen to people describing the strike as a farcical drama and instead stand united as that will allow us to achieve victory’. He added DMK expressed its concerns in pitched voice through the strike.

Karunanidhi also called for unity over the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. He recalled that the Tamil cause was lost because of fratricidal war among the Tamil groups in Sri Lanka. He attributed these wars to the Lanka government's policy of divide and rule policy.

-Asian Tribune -

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