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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2865

'Majority' Indians feel Delhi is ignoring SL 'for too long'

By M Rama Rao reporting from Delhi

New Delhi, 20 October ( Though it is neither representative nor well structured opinion survey, a private Indian TV channel's SMS based opinion poll says 'majority' feel India is 'ignoring' Sri Lanka for 'too long'.

The poll was carried out as a part of the 'Face The Nation' programme of CNN- IBN channel on the crisis in Sri Lanka. 84 per cent of the respondents felt that India was ignoring Sri Lanka crisis for too long. Only 14 per cents did not think so.

Lt Gen A S Kalkat, who led the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to the Island nation, participating in the programme, did not agree with the postulate that India is not active on the Sri Lankan theatre.

"No diplomacy can be conducted at the market place', he remarked to drive home his contention.

Gen Kalkat also pointed out that the ethnic issue in Lanka is basically a political problem and as such it could be solved by the government in Colombo.

"It is essential to recognize that the problem in Sri Lanka is essentially political. It is essential to accept that it can be addressed by the political dispensation of the country, the state," the former IPKF chief, who is now based in Delhi, said in the live programme which also featured the spokesman of the Sri Lankan army
Brigadier P. Samarasinghe from Colombo and a Chennai based pro-LTTE journalist K Sachitanandan, who edits 'Kanthalagan'.

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Delhi had agreed to participate in the programme but he had declined to share the platform (of the programme) with pro-LTTE journalist', the anchor said.

While Sachitanandan had very little new to add by way of elucidation on the LTTE's plans and planks ahead of Geneva talks, the Lankan army spokesman said 'as the most affected (by the war with the LTTE) the army fully supports the peace process

Brigadier Samarasinghe did not agree that the government forces were the first to violate the 2002 ceasefire by their action at Thirunelveli.

The anchor asked "will you accept the LTTE as comrades once the war ended?"

The Brigadier declined to field the question saying that he merely represented the army and the question went beyond his brief. He however did not stop. "Security Forces (of Sri Lanka) are the legitimate force. Others are terrorists".

The Kanthalagan editor's response was predictable and he lashed at Colombo and held it responsible for the continuing impasse. He said till 2002, the LTTE was accepted as an equal partner by the government, but President Rajapakse has not accepted the line. "This is the major shift' in the policy of Sri Lankan government," he added.

Gen Kalkat chipped in with what he thinks needs to be done to bring peace in the emerald island. "Push both sides to talks", he said, adding 'they (both sides) are keen and are not keen (on talks). Foolish thing!'

-Asian Tribune -

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