Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who arrived here to visit ailing Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, categorically rejected the demand for a new Tamil Eelam, stressing there could be “no military solution to the Tamil question in Sri Lanka”.
Earlier on Saturday, Singh called on Karunanidhi at a private hospital with just two more days of campaigning left for the May 13 Lok Sabha polls in the state, where both the opposition AIADMK and the ruling DMK have made the Tamil crisis a major poll issue.
Quelling the rhetoric over another military intervention in Sri Lanka, he told a crowded press conference that India sought a negotiated settlement “within the framework of a united and federal Sri Lanka,” and “that will remain the policy of the government of India” in future also.
Singh said, “It is not easy to march armies into a sovereign state.” Those who are making such “tall claims” (read: AIADMK leader MS Jayalalithaa) were also aware of this, he said.
To a query on Congress ally DMK finally coming around to accept the creation of a Tamil Eelam, Singh said after consultations with all shades of Tamil opinion, Sri Lanka should evolve a solution, with more powers to the Tamil-speaking provinces.
On Nepal, he said, “What is happening in Nepal is of deep concern to us,” but it “is essentially Nepal’s internal matter.” He hoped that the Nepalese polity would be able to resolve the difficulties, which led to the resignation of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
However, on Pakistan, Singh sounded stern, saying the resumption of the composite dialogue with Pakistan would hinge on its initiatives to bring to book the perpetrators of the November 26 Mumbai attack.
Taking a wide range of questions on the recent strife in Pakistan between the army and the Taliban, he said, “We wish Pakistan well in its fight against the Taliban.”
Asked to clear the air over his statement on regional parties, he said though too many regional parties affected fast growth, “we have to come to terms with the fact that regional parties exist and will continue to exist”.