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'India can force Lanka to buy its garbage'

The Lankan media says MK Narayanan's statement on Colombo arms trade is arrogant and callous, reports PK Balachandran.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2007 16:03 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

The Sri Lankan media has lambasted India's National Security Advisor MK Narayanan for saying that Sri Lanka should not buy arms from China or Pakistan and that it should come to India for its military requirements even though New Delhi will not supply offensive weapons.

Daily Mirror carried a cartoon by Gihan Chickera on Saturday, which showed Narayanan standing near an overflowing garbage bin with the caption saying: "India can force Sri Lanka to buy its garbage."

In March, the Sri Lankan media had charged (though unfairly) that the 2D radars given by India were not effective in meeting the aerial threat from the LTTE.

In its editorial The Island daily said that Narayanan's statement that India was a "big power" which could not allow China and Pakistan to enter its sphere of influence showed "arrogance, callousness and coercion that characterised the Nazi regime of Hitler."

On Narayanan's saying that India would not supply offensive weapons to Sri Lanka, the editorial asked: "Is he of the opinion that terrorism could be countered with broomsticks and brickbats?"

The Island warned that India could play "dirty tricks" if Sri Lanka did not follow its diktat. It could soften its stand against the LTTE "signs of which are already visible," it said.

Former Associate Foreign Secretary and foreign affairs commentator K Godage wrote in Daily Mirror that India had consistently had a "dog in the manger" policy vis-à-vis Sri Lanka's defence needs.

New Delhi had stood in the way of the US and Sri Lanka signing the Access and Cross Services Agreement (ACSA), while it was itself striking defence deals with the US. It was holding joint military exercises with China while preventing Sri Lanka from having defence dealings with China, Godage pointed out.

"It appears that the Indian government finds utility in the continuance of the conflict in Sri Lanka," he charged. But if this was not true, India should actively assist Sri Lanka in finding a peaceful political settlement of the Tamil question and subdue the LTTE with its might if it did not toe the line, he said.

Daily Mirror said in its editorial that India's bid to play "policeman" of the region was "objectionable" and hoped that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, known for his commitment to democracy and respect for the independence of nations "will not permit India to commit itself to the adoption of the attitude advocated by Narayanan."

However, as an advocate of a peaceful resolution of the Sri Lankan conflict, Daily Mirror asked Sri Lankans to "take a cue from the Indian attitude and gauge the nascent global view that political issues (like the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka) should be resolved not by use of arms but through dialogue and negotiations."

ht epaper

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