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India has rights of an elder brother, says Lanka

world Updated: Jun 06, 2007 17:24 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran
Hindustan Times
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India has the rights of an elder brother vis-à-vis Sri Lanka, and as such, it can ask the latter to come to it for any military help instead of going to Pakistan or China, says a Sri Lankan government spokesman.

Asked to comment on the Indian National Security Advisor MK Narayanan's statement in Chennai that Sri Lanka should not buy weapons from Pakistan or China but come to India for its military needs, the Defence Ministry spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that India was like Sri Lanka's elder brother who could make such demands on a younger sibling.

He noted that Narayanan had offered to help Sri Lanka militarily and commented that India was probably feeling bad that it had not helped younger brother Sri Lanka in its hour of need and wanted to make amends for it.

Asked what Sri Lanka would do if the elder brother did not help the younger brother, Rambukwella said: " We will go to our cousin brothers (Pakistan and China)".

"We don't want to be treated like a step brother!" he added.

But Rambukwella felt that India would not let Sri Lanka down as India and Sri Lanka had a 2,500-year-old relationship.

On the Indian offer to give only "defensive" weapons, the Sri Lankan spokesman said that he had no quarrel with that because Sri Lanka had been fighting only a "defensive war" against the LTTE.

"We counter attack when attacked. And India has understood us correctly," he said.

PRO-LTTE ELEMENTS SILENCED AT BRUSSELS

The Sri Lankan spokesman maintained that the bid by certain forces to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka at the European Parliament's public hearing on post-tsunami reconstruction and the human rights situation in Sri Lanka at Brussels on Tuesday, had failed.

These forces, including sections of the media, had used certain incidents like abductions and disappearances to set the stage for an assault on Sri Lanka at the Brussels meet. But they were unsuccessful because the EU MPs condemned the activities of the LTTE and said that LTTE's terrorism was the cause of the problem in Sri Lanka.

LTTE BOMBS DERAIL TRAIN

One soldier was killed and a passenger train derailed near Valaichenai in Eastern Sri Lanka on Wednesday, due to the impact of two bombs placed on the track by the LTTE, the Military Spokesman Brig.Prasad Samarasinghe said.

In the fighting West of Omanthai, near the northern town of Vavuniya, since Saturday, the LTTE had lost 61 cadres and the Sri Lankan army lost 28, killed or missing, the spokesman added.