Home India News Manmohan, Rajapaksa to discuss Tamil issue Friday

Manmohan, Rajapaksa to discuss Tamil issue Friday


New Delhi: India will press for a political solution to the decades-old Tamil question and seek quicker resettlement of displaced civilians when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rakapaksa for bilateral talks Friday.

Rajpakasa arrives here Thursday afternoon and will be the chief guest at the colourful Commonwealth Games’ closing ceremony in the evening.

The invitation to Rajapkasa has angered some Tamil diaspora groups and human rights activists, who accuse the Sri Lankan president of gross rights violations in the course of its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam (LTTE) that ended in May last year.

Manmohan Singh will host a lunch meeting for Rajapaksa at his residence Friday. A host of bilateral issues will be discussed, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to India Prasad Kariyawasam told IANS.

Rajapaksa is expected to brief his Indian host about a slew of initiatives taken by his government to resettle around 300,000 displaced Tamil civilians and steps taken to expedite a political settlement, which would meet the aspirations of minority communities.

The plight of Tamil civilians remains a sensitive political issue, specially in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

India has pledged over $200 million for resettlement of Tamil civilians and is in the process of building 50,000 houses in the war-ravaged Northern Province.

Rajapaksa last came on a state visit to India in June.

Colombo has conveyed to New Delhi that only about 28,000 displaced civilians remain to be resettled and assured that this process will be completed by the end of this year.

The Tamil issue will be discussed in detail when External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna holds talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris Thursday.

Peiris, who arrived in India Wednesday, is also expected to meet Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal over the next two days.

Peiris will also deliver the R.K. Mishra Memorial Lecture on ‘Growth, Equity and Security: Constitutional Imperatives for South Asia,’ at Teen Murti House Oct 15. The lecture has been organised by the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank.

Peiris will also discuss the forthcoming Sri Lanka visit of Krishna likely Oct 27 to 31 to see the progress in rehabilitating displaced civilians.

Krishna is likely to inaugurate two Indian consulates in Hambantota and Jaffna during his four-day visit to Sri Lanka.