TNA urges India not to provide warship to Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 16:04 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has urged the Government of India to desist from providing lethal military assistance to Sri Lanka. Referring to recent media reports that the Indian Government is to either grant or lease a large warship to the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), the Parliamentary group of the TNA in a press release issued Wednesday observed that these reports have come against the backdrop of repeated assurances given by the Indian leadership, including the Indian Premier Dr. Manmohan Singh, that the India, as a matter of policy, will not provide any lethal weapons to Sri Lanka.

SLN has a "long history of violence against Tamil civilians both at sea and on shore," the statement noted.

Full text of the press release issued by the TNA Parliamentary Group follows:

The Tamil National Alliance notes with much concern recent media reports suggesting that the Indian Government is to either grant or lease a large warship to the Sri Lankan Government’s Navy.

The Vikram class vessel, formerly of the Indian Coast Guard, is said to be presently serving with the Sri Lanka Navy as a temporary replacement for a similar ship provided by India in 2000, the reports say. The latter vessel, Sri Lanka’s flagship, is being refurbished by the Indian government, reportedly at no cost to Sri Lanka.

These media reports come against the backdrop of repeated assurances given by the Indian leadership, including the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh himself, that the Indian Government, as a matter of policy, will not provide any lethal weapons to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

These reports come at a time when the Indian Government has also been stressing to the Sri Lankan government that the Tamil National question must be solved by negotiations and not through a military option.

They also come at a time when the Sri Lankan Government, in the name of fighting “terrorism,” is openly waging a war against the Tamil people with genocidal effect.

Sri Lanka’s navy has a long history of violence against Tamil civilians both at sea and on shore. Since the early days of the conflict shelling by naval gunboats have destroyed coastal villages while navy personnel have massacred Tamil passengers on civilian ferries and been responsible for numerous human rights violations against Tamil civilians.

Under the guise of fighting the LTTE, the Navy routinely attacks and sinks Tamil fishing boats. Numerous Tamil fishermen from both sides of the Palk Straits are regularly killed in these attacks, which have been well documented.

The TNA urges the Government of India and all other foreign governments to desist from providing military assistance to the Sri Lankan Government as it will inevitably be used against the Tamil people.

TNA PARLIAMENTARY GROUP


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