21 Feb :India has expressed concern over the latest turn of events in Sri Lanka, particularly the air raids by LTTE over Colombo, and appealed to the govt and the militant organisation to come to a peaceful negotiated settlement.
It also said unless there was a congenial and peaceful atmosphere, attacks and counter-attacks would continue.
"An LTTE plane has been shot down. This is of concern. Political solution has to be found to the LTTE issue and military action will not do," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukhjerjee, told reporters at Berhampore (WB) on Saturday.Maintaining that "a political solution is the only way out, he said "The two sides should sit across the table for a negotiated settlement of the issue.
"And, for that a congenial and peaceful atmosphere has to be created. Till that is not forthcoming, attacks and counter-attacks will continue to hit the country.
Stating that India’s stand was ‘very clear’, Mukherjee said "we are concerned. We are concerned for the huge Sri Lankan Tamil population who have been caught in the crossfire. They are being killed and their normal life is seriously affected."
He said India would appeal to Colombo to ensure that the rights of the minority Tamils were protected.Mukherjee was in Berhampore for a credit camp of UCO Bank at Raghunathganj in Murshidabad district.
Recalling the treaty signed in 1987 between the then Sri Lankan President and late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Mukherjee said “The decisions arrived there should be implemented. The decision for decentralisation of power and more powers to the provincial council …. should be followed.”
Mukherjee said the Tamils and other ethnic minorities in Sri Lanka must have an arrangement where there legitimate aspirations should be fulfilled within the framework of the Sri Lankan Constitution without affecting the territorial unity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
He said India expected a devolution package can be evolved fulfilling this criteria and the present impasse overcome. That should be the basis of restoration of normalcy, he added.