The government on Friday rejected the resolution passed by Tamil Nadu assembly that had asked the Centre to stop treating Sri Lanka as a friendly nation and to slap sanctions on it while demanding a referendum for a separate Tamil Eelam.
Students shout slogans from inside a bus during a protest in Chennai against the war crimes committed by Sri Lanka. Reuters photo
"There is no question of accepting them. That is not the only state that has a stake in this. What about the others? There are many other states. There are many other assemblies. The rest of India is not supporting this," external affairs minister Salman Khurshid told Karan Thapar in Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN.
He was asked if the Centre was rejecting the three crucial aspects of the resolution adopted by Tamil Nadu Assembly on March 27.
To each of the three demands, Khurshid said a firm "no". "If all of India was to support, it was another matter. But if one state supports something, we are sensitive to their concerns but we do not necessarily have to..," he said.
The assembly had adopted a resolution, moved by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, urging the Centre to take firm steps against Colombo till the "suppression" of Tamils was stopped and those responsible for "genocide and war crimes" faced a credible international probe.
The resolution came close on the heels of Jayalalithaa writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying India should boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to be held in Colombo in November this year.
Asked if Finance Minister P Chidambaram was too on board, he said "I don't think Mr Chidambaram has taken a different view from anybody else in the government but Mr Chidambaram has very strong feelings about how quickly and how effectively we can persuade Sri Lanka to persuade with the objectives that are very clear which Sri Lanka has promised to India and which India is committed to".
Khurshid hoped Tamil sentiments will not spiral out of control.
"But certainly, it is a matter, as I have said, we have to factor in in our decision-making. We have to let things calm down. There are certain serious concerns and there are concerns, part of which are reflected in concerns of our colleagues. You mentioned some of our colleagues. I think that we owe it to them that those concerns be factored in and those concerns be addressed," Khurshid said.
On the issue of Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo, Khurshid said the government has an open mind about it but made it clear that as of today it was a party to the collective decision.
Speaking on the Italian marines' issue, Khurshid complimented the Italian government.
"I think the Italian government has been very sensible. I think it has been more than fair. It took time to be persuaded. I have no problem to say that they have done a good job, they have done fair job," he said.
Asked if the marines would be spending their jail term in India if convicted by the special court, Khurshid drew attention to an agreement between the two countries.
"You know there is a treaty between Italy and ourselves and that treaty has its own implications. I don't need to spell that out to anyone," he said.
As per the treaty, Italians convicted here can serve their jail term back in their country.