Puducherry: Amid strident opposition to training of Sri Lankan airmen by India, Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy on Sunday stressed the need for cordial ties with the neighbour in the larger interest of Tamils in the island and asked political parties in Tamil Nadu to desist from "whipping up" Tamil sentiments.
"Sri Lanka is our neighbouring country. There should be cordial and friendly relations with that nation in the larger interest of the Sri Lankan Tamils and also for the protection of hundreds of industrialists, businessmen and traders from India and more particularly from Tamil Nadu doing their business there," he told reporters here.
He said political parties in Tamil Nadu "intending" to whip up Tamil sentiments should, therefore, bear in mind implications of their activities and ensure that the Tamils and the business community from India in Sri Lanka did not face any `embarrassing or critical predicament`.
He said as soon as the issue of training of Sri Lanka airmen in the IAF station in Chennai cropped up, he requested Defence Minister A K Antony to discontinue it as the state witnessed an `uncommon environ`.
Antony yesterday spoke to him over phone and informed him that the training programme had been discontinued, he said adding, it was for the Defence Minister to decide in which part would the training be arranged.
Central Government shifted the nine Sri Lankan airmen to Bangalore amid protests by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and UPA ally DMK President M Karunanidhi among others.
Noting that various leaders in Tamil Nadu had issued statements protesting the training, Narayanasamy said this was a new issue that has cropped up in the state where an `uncommon environ` was prevailing in view of alleged killing of innocent Sri Lankan Tamils during the war against LTTE.
He hastened to add India was part of SAARC and defence personnel of member nations could be trained in any other member country.
The Centre had been taking care of the rehabilitation of displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka, he said adding he would only urge political parties in Tamil Nadu "inclined to do politics by whipping up Tamil sentiments in their pretence to help the Sri Lankan Tamils to desist from their activities."
On the Presidential election, he said UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee was receiving `enthusiastic and rousing reception` in the states he had visited so far and asserted he would bag more than seven lakh votes in the July 19 polls.