LTTE expresses 'serious concern' over Indo-Lanka defence pact

[TamilNet, Monday, 26 January 2004, 14:31 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has expressed serious concern over the envisaged Indo-Sri Lankan Defence Agreement (DCA) arguing that it could have far-reaching negative consequences for the current peace process, sources told TamilNet Monday.

Mr Anton Balasingham, the chief negotiator and political strategist of the LTTE, has conveyed to the Government of India the objections of his organisation to the DCA through the good offices of the Norwegian facilitators, the sources said.

Mr Balasingham had pointed out to the Norwegians that the proposed Defence Agreement might upset the balance of forces to the disadvantage of the LTTE and that “disturbing that military equilibrium would lead to the disturbance of the ceasefire agreement, the very foundation on which the Sri Lankan peace process stands.”

“A military pact with India would encourage the Sinhala political leadership to take a hard-line, belligerent attitude towards the Tamils and eventually destroy the mutual trust between the estranged communities, a crucial factor necessary for the consolidation and promotion of peace,” the LTTE’s political advisor had explained.

“There is no strategic necessity for the Government of India to rush into a defence agreement with military implications at this crucial time when the peace process itself is endangered by the political crisis in Colombo,” Mr Balasingham had pointed out.

“Such an agreement at this stage will be detrimental to the interests of the Tamils and will seriously damage their bargaining power,” he told India through the Norwegian facilitators.

Mr Balasingham further said that Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga as well as the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are “desperately eager to gain political credit over such a military agreement with India, propagating it as an effective instrument to contain the military power of the Tamil Tigers.”

In the meantime, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, the head of the LTTE’s political wing, has also expressed serious apprehensions over the impending defence agreement between Sri Lanka and India.

“The proposed agreement was a bogey to frighten the Tamils into submission, a part of the grand design of the international safety net of Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe to involve external forces into the ethnic conflict of the island,” Mr Thamilchelvan told Tamil media recently.

He also said that the efforts to draw other countries into the conflict would further complicate efforts to resolve Sri Lanka’s protracted ethnic conflict.

 

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