Jayalalithaa against proposed military hardware supply to Lanka
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday expressed shock over New Delhi`s proposal to supply two naval warships to Sri Lanka, saying any move to supply military hardware would be the "most telling statement on the insensitivity of the Government of India to the strong sentiments in Tamil Nadu" on the Lankan Tamils issue.
Given the strength of the public sentiment in the state, she was "quite sure" that the UPA Government would not supply any military hardware to Sri Lanka, particularly naval warships which she said could be potentially deployed against Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar.
"However, I was shocked to see media reports today in which the Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister?s Office (V Narayanasamy) confirms that the Government of India is in the process of supplying two naval warships to Sri Lanka," she said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
She said while Narayanasamy appears to have indicated that he would communicate to Singh the emotions and feelings amongst people and political parties in the state against any such move, "what amazes me is that the Government of India could even contemplate such a move."
Even if there was a commitment under an old agreement for such supply of naval warships, in the present circumstances, the Centre ought to have cancelled such an agreement, she said.
"Any move to supply military hardware to Sri Lanka would be the most telling statement on the insensitivity of Government of India to the strong sentiment in Tamil Nadu," she said.
Far from holding the Sri Lankan regime accountable for its "acts of genocide and war crimes against the Tamil speaking minority", the Centre`s action would be seen as actively working with Colombo and providing them with "necessary wherewithal to act even more strongly against minority Tamils in Lanka and also against poor Indian fishermen."
"I shudder to even countenance such an insult to the people of Tamil Nadu. In the circumstances, I strongly urge you to clarify this aspect without any delay and even if there is an existing agreement for supply of naval warships, I request you to move immediately to cancel the agreement and ensure that no support of any kind is provided to the Sri Lankan military forces," she said.
India is planning to supply two naval warships to Sri Lanka to strengthen its capabilities to guard its maritime boundaries.
Two Offshore Patrol Vessels to be built by the Goa-based defence PSU Goa Shipyard Limited are expected to be delivered to the Island nation by 2017-18.
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