Swamy seeks more Indian engagement in Sri Lanka

Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy Tuesday sought more Indian engagement in developmental projects in this country.

Last Updated: Feb 07, 2012, 22:15 PM IST

Colombo: Describing India`s Sri Lanka policy
as "too north-centric", Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy
Tuesday sought more Indian engagement in developmental projects
in this country, even as he advocated the need for a political
solution to the Tamil issue.

"Peace in Sri Lanka is not only in the interest of
Lankans but also of India. But peace can come only with a
political solution to the national (Tamil) question," Swamy
said.

Calling Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa a
"determined and resolute leader" for militarily defeating the
LTTE, Swamy said the Tamils must be made to feel that the
defeat of the LTTE was not the defeat of the Tamils as a
minority in the island nation.

Citing the multi-million-dollar Hambantota port project,
the Janata Party leader claimed that laxity in Indian policy
had allowed other nations to step in. "Sri Lanka first
approached India for assistance over Hambantota. They only
turned to China after India became disinterested."

Developing Hambantota, the home base of Rajapaksa, is a
pet project of the President. The Chinese dominate development
of the port, airport and other infrastructure in the region.

Swamy, a known opponent of the LTTE, is on a private
visit to the island.

"I have a lot of friends in Sri Lanka," Swamy said,
acknowledging his popularity among the majority Sinhala
community for publicly opposing the former rebel group.

He had held talks with political leaders representing
people of Indian origin living in the island`s central hill
plantation areas.

"The Indian policy in Sri Lanka has been too north-
centric," Swamy opined, adding New Delhi needs to take
closer scrutiny of the issues facing the Indian-origin
plantation Tamil community.

PTI