Lanka crisis a ‘concern’ for India
With the India-US nuclear deal going out of official hands into the sphere of politics, the spiraling violence in Sri Lanka has emerged as a major concern for Indian policy makers.
Officials used Lankan Army chief Maj Gen Sarath Fonseka's recent visit to reiterate their advice on the need for the government in Colombo to move towards a political solution to the decades-old ethnic crisis by devolving power. Concern has grown that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, buoyed by military inroads into Tamil rebel strongholds, is seeking a military solution to the crisis.
Fonseka, who has attended the Indian Army's prestigious counter insurgency and jungle warfare commando course at Varangte in Mizoram, survived an assassination attempt in April 2006 in Colombo. He has publicly said he would like to bring the military conflict on the island to an end before he retires by the end of this year.
On Tuesday, the LTTE criticised India for hosting the Sri Lankan Army chief despite the 2002 ceasefire being scrapped by Colombo, saying such moves will "reinvigorate" the island's military which was carrying out an "ethnic genocide" against Tamils.
According to a senior MEA official, the military campaign against the Tamil Tigers and the violence it has spawned is crippling the Lankan economy, which is overwhelmingly dependent on tourism and trade. India is also concerned at the domestic fallout of violence and Lankan Tamils being forced to leave the island and arriving in Tamil Nadu.