01/17/2012, 00.00
SRI LANKA – INDIA
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India committed to a peaceful solution to the Tamil question

by Melani Manel Perera
This is what Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said during his official visit to Sri Lanka (16-19 January). In a meeting with the minister, a delegation from the country’s main Tamil party says the government report on the civil war fell “dramatically short” of its goal.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – “India is firmly committed to ensuring a political settlement, including devolution of powers, to address the aspirations of Tamil community,” Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said during a meeting with a delegation from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party.

The minister is on an official visit (16-19 January) and chose to meet the TNA in his first official meeting with Sri Lankan political leaders. The latter are highly critical of the report  by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. Set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to study the civil war, it claims that the thousands of civilian deaths “were unintentional and resulted from an unprecedented situation”.

TNA President R. Sampathan said that the meeting with the Indian minister was “cordial” and useful. For his part, Krishna said that he would “discuss the matter with the highest levels of the Sri Lankan government.”

For the Tamil leader, the commission fell “dramatically short” of its goal, adding that the report contained a “fatal contradiction”. On the one hand, it accepts the military’s statement that it had planned attacks in every detail. On the other, it admits that civilian casualties did occur because of military operations, contradicting initial government statements of “zero civilian casualties”.
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