ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Neighbourly Concerns

IT is not surprising that the Sri Lankan president should have sent a special envoy, her foreign minister Lakshman Kadrigamar, to the new Indian prime minister so soon after he took over the reins of government. Sri Lanka's concern has been on two counts. The first is not so much the BJP's stand on the Tamil issue, but that of some of the other parties in the ruling alliance. It was not so long ago after all that George Fernandes, now the defence minister, had facilitated a meeting of LITE leaders in Delhi in a show of defiance of the then government's refusal to allow what was seen as a provocative act. The other more general concern, shared perhaps by India's other neighbours, is just how assertive, even aggressive, the BJP's foreign and defence policies are going to be, especially in relation to the country's immediate neighbourhood. At a juncture when the internal situation in Sri Lanka with regard to the Tamil issue is delicately poised, with the Sri Lankan army for the first time in decades in a dominant position and with some hope of the LITE being forced to go to the negotiating table, it is imperative for the Sri Lankan government that India continues to deny LITE support in any way.

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