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Situation in Lanka beyond bleak - Indian official told US

world Updated: Dec 18, 2010 20:15 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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A senior Indian bureaucrat had warned the US that the situation in Sri Lanka was bad, even beyond bleak two years before the civil war between government troops and separatist Tamil rebels ended in May, 2009, a cable released by Wikileaks has revealed.

The same cable revealed that India wanted US to make an assessment of the port that China was building for Sri Lanka in Hambantota.

In a cable dated, April 27, 2007, then joint secretary Mohan Kumar is quoted by US diplomats as saying: "the situation in Sri Lanka is "bad, really bad - beyond bleak". The discussion was held in New Delhi.

Kumar told the diplomats that neither the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) nor the Lankan government had any regard for the international community's opinion.

"Characterising the government and the LTTE as two sets of people with scant regard for the international community, Kumar was skeptical that political progress could be achieved anytime soon," the cable said.

In the 2007, the armed forces and the LTTE were locked in a pitched battle in eastern and northern Sri Lanka. The LTTE was pushed out of the eastern province soon after.

The cable further stated that, "Kumar said it would be helpful to get the American assessment of the port being built in Hambantota, which he estimated China was willing to spend $500 million to help develop. He noted that China has increased its influence with President Rajapaksa, opining that Rajapaksa had a "soft spot" for China following his visit to Beijing in March."

Meanwhile, reports from Washington have said that several US lawmakers on Friday urged a global probe into the allegation of human rights in the last stages of the Lankan civil war. The Lanka government's own efforts do not ensure accountability, they said.

According to AFP, in letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 17 senators and 30 members of the House of Representatives called for the United States to seek a United Nations role investigating last year's finale of the Tamil Tiger insurgency.

The Lankan government has set up a Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to look into events between 2002 and end of war in 2009. The UN too has set up a three-member commission to advice the secretary general Ban Ki-moon on the issue of rights violation.