Sri Lanka can approach India for arms needs: Narayanan


Chennai : National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan Thursday said Sri Lanka, facing frequent air attacks from Tamil rebels, should not approach Pakistan or China for weapons though he added that India cannot supply "offensive military equipment".

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"It is high time that Sri Lanka understood that India is the big power in the region and ought to refrain from going to Pakistan or China for weapons, as we are prepared to accommodate them within the framework of our foreign policy," Narayanan told reporters after a 45-minute meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi here.

"But it should be clear to Colombo that we cannot supply completely offensive military equipment. We are, however, willing to look at other options like better radars and tracking ordnance to (meet) the Sri Lankan government's defence needs in the light of repeated air attacks by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)."

Commenting on the repeated firing from the Sri Lankan Nay on Indian fishermen in the Palk Straits, he said: "Our people naturally expect a good catch. Sometimes they indeed cross the international maritime boundary unwittingly.

"For something as minor as that, the Lankan Navy firing on our fishermen will no longer be tolerated. I have conveyed this personally on telephone to senior officials in Colombo," Narayanan disclosed.

The official ruled out a unified command for the Lankan Navy and the Indian Coast guard, but indicated that the Indian government was willing to look at proposals for "coordinated patrolling".

Talking about his meeting with Karunanidhi, Narayanan pointed out: "We discussed the security scenario and the problems faced by the Tamil Nadu fishermen.

"The chief minister was apprised of the centre's view of strengthening the defence of our coastline in the south with special emphasis on the Tuticorin port and its hinterland," he added.