Oct 01, Chennai: An Indian court today directed the central Indian government to respond on a controversial sale of two naval warships to Sri Lanka.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court in Chennai hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed on the sale has directed the Cabinet Secretary of the Indian government to respond to three questions.
The court asked the government to informs the court of the "mechanism and arrangement" of the sale of the ships and why the sale is proceeding at a time when the relations between the neighbors are strained. The court also wants to know when the ships would be exported to Sri Lanka.
The central government is ordered to provide the explanations before October 8.
A civilian, an advocate has filed PIL petition in the Madras High Court Monday seeking the court to direct the central government of India to cancel the proposed sale of two naval warships to Sri Lanka.
The petitioner has expressed fears that these warships could be used against the Tamil Nadu fishermen who are continually arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for intruding into Sri Lanka's territorial waters for fishing.
The petitioner has stated in his petition that there was a strong sentiment against Sri Lanka among Tamils in Tamil Nadu and they are angered and agonized by the proposal to sell warships to the island nation.
The judges hearing the petition had recalled that two years ago the same court had directed the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard to deploy two ships in the Palk Straits to safeguard Indian fishermen, Indian media reported.
The Union Minister for State in the Prime Minister's Office, V. Narayanasamy has recently confirmed the sale of two warships to Sri Lanka. However, he said the decision to sell the two warships had been made based on an agreement signed few years ago.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalithaa has asked the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately cancel any existing agreements for supply of naval ships to Sri Lanka and ensure no support is provided to Sri Lanka defence forces.
The court has also directed notice to he Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu to respond.