TNA "reassured" by India’s thinking on Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 September 2006, 09:50 GMT]
Following its first official visit to India last week, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is "reassured" by Delhi’s thinking on the Tamil question in Sri Lanka, party sources said Sunday. A delegation led Parliamentary Group leader R. Sampanthan held "cordial, comprehensive and productive" meetings with top Indian officials, including National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed and Foreign Secretary-designate Shivshankar Menon, the sources said. The TNA leadership hoped to meet with India’s Premier in future, but was pleased Dr. Manmohan Singh "is taking a personal interest in the Tamil question," a member of the TNA delegation said.

A much-hoped for though unscheduled meeting with India’s Premier did not take place, but the top Indian officials the TNA delegation met with had assured them that Dr. Singh was taking “a personal interest” in the Tamil question and would engage directly with President Mahinda Rajapakse on developments in Sri Lanka, according to the TNA sources.

The TNA delegation met with the top Indian officials on Wednesday and Thursday last week.

On Wednesday the delegation met with Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed and Foreign Secretary-designate Shivshankar Menon for a lengthy discussion on the Tamil question.

On Thursday they met with National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan for an hour-long discussion, from 4 to 5 p.m. on the humanitarian and security crisis in Sri Lanka’s Northeast.

Their visit to Delhi was arranged around an invitation by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), which is India’s premier foreign affairs think tank, enjoying close links with the Indian ministry of External Affairs.

In the wake of the meetings, the TNA delegation was “greatly encouraged at the extent to which [the Indian government] was already aware of the considerable difficulties of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka,” the TNA parliamentarian said.

Among the issues discussed were the severe humanitarian crisis amongst the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the military agenda of the Sri Lankan state and the Norwegian peace-process, according to the TNA sources.

The TNA leadership was keen to meet Dr. Singh in the future and would continue to keep him briefed on developments through the senior Indian officials they met last week, the sources further said.

 

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