LTTE ‘no threat to India’ - Thamilchelvan
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 May 2005, 16:34 GMT]
Any capability acquired by the Liberation Tigers is solely for the protection of the Tamil people and not a threat to India or any other country, the head of the LTTE’s political wing, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, said this week in response to concern expressed by Indian officials over the movement’s naval force and reports it had acquired aircraft
In comments made to the BBC’s Tamil service and reproduced by Tamil news media, Mr Thamilchelvan said: “All our organisation’s structures and efforts are aimed at protecting our people.”
“This is not in any way a threat to any other country in general, particularly India.”
“Our military efforts are aimed at combating the threat to our people, and not aimed at disrupting democracy or establishing a military regime,” Mr. Thamilchelvan said.
“India or the Indian people or indeed any other people certainly need not fear this. I wish to state that this is purely for the self protection of our people and the defence of our homeland,” he said.
“The surprise and concern voiced by India surprises us,” Mr. Thamilchelvan said in response to Indian External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh’s comments Saturday.
Mr. Singh was quoted in Indian press reports as saying “we are concerned about the LTTE having built an airstrip and having two aeroplanes, and there's news about more coming.”
The Indian home ministry's annual report this year was strongly critical of the LTTE, describing it as an "an extremely potent, most lethal and well-organised terrorist force."
The report also said that the LTTE's insistence on recognition of Sea Tigers, its naval wing "poses yet another threat to Indian security."
Mr. Thamilchelvan said the LTTE was a product of Sri Lanka state’s protracted and violent repression of the island’s Tamil community and as such it was a liberation movement.
“The rightful fight of our people, who have faced over 50 years of ethnic killings, displacement and large scale disasters, has grown today,” he said.
“Today we have an administration in our own land and a large part of our homeland has been freed from military domination,” he said. “Our people’s situation is [thus] improving.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Navy said three Indian warships visited Colombo last week.
“Three Indian Naval Ships ‘Sukanya’, ‘Cuddalor’, and ‘Koshicode’ entered Colombo harbour around 1130 hrs on 04th May 2005 for replenishment,” the SLN said. Cuddalor and Koshicode are minesweepers of the Pondicherry class.
“Under trainees of Sri Lanka Navy were onboard in order to get familiarized themselves with the mine-sweeping gears and mine-sweeping operations,” the SLN said.