11 June 2011
Visiting Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon said that it is up to the Sri Lankan government to find a political solution which it is comfortable with and India is not interfering in the matter.
Mr. Menon stated that India would refrain from interfering in the matter which was “up to the Sri Lankan Government”.
The Indian delegation in the country has expressed that although they hope for a speedy political solution for the Tamil Parties in Sri Lanka, the solution has to be one which the Sri Lankan Government is comfortable with.
The Indian delegation had also met with a group from the TNA, and representatives from other Tamil parties. Discussions had been held on matters of access and the militarisation of the North. Menon told Indian Media, in Sri Lanka, that the immediate task was to provide information on those reported missing during the last stages of the war and to ensure that life in the North returned to normal. The TNA had expressed to the delegation that talks were ongoing between the government and themselves on releasing the names and details of the missing persons.
On matters of resettlement Menon stated that although work was ongoing “more need(s) to be done.”
Menon had said that discussions had taken place between the delegation and Minister of External Affairs G.L Peries on the issues of fishermen. “There is an understanding from both sides about what the fishermen want and the unions from both countries are carrying on discussions, they will arrive at solutions which are beneficial to both parties,” Menon had said.
During the delegation’s two hour call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa the delegation had conveyed to him Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s acceptance of an invitation to visit the country. Menon explained to Indian media that the visit would happen at a time convenient to both parties, no date has yet been decided on.
Menon had expressed that the two governments had “exhaustive discussions” which they were “very satisfied” with.
Menon also stated that no discussion had taken place on matters relating to the Tamil Nadu Assembly as the Sri Lankan government had made it very clear that they deal with the centre and not individual states.
He also stated that Sri Lanka had its own mechanism for dealing with reconciliation in terms of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and therefore the UN Panel report had not been discussed.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao briefed Indian media on the housing projects ongoing in the North, where the target is for 50 houses to be completed by the end of the month and a 1000 pilot houses by the end of the year. This number is in addition to the 43,000 owner driven beneficiary scheme houses.
Indian Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumaar was also part of the delegation which left the island a short while ago.