Sept 11, Chennai: The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state of India, J. Jayalalithaa today asked the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately clarify on the Indian government's sale of naval of warships to Sri Lanka.
In a letter, the Chief Minister requested the PM to immediately cancel any existing agreements for supply of naval ships to Sri Lanka and "ensure that no support of any kind is provided to the Sri Lankan military forces."
Jeyalalithaa's request follows the acknowledgment by a union minister of media reports that India is planning to sell two warships to Sri Lanka.
Union Minister for State in the Prime Minister's Office, V. Narayanasamy Tuesday confirmed that the Indian government has agreed to supply naval warships to Sri Lanka during 2017-18. However he said the decision to sell the two warships had been made based on an agreement signed few years ago.
The Chief Minister in her letter to Singh recalled that the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly had passed a resolution demanding that India should stop terming Sri Lanka as a "friendly nation".
Jayalalithaa said she was shocked to hear the Union Minister's confirmation that the Government of India is in the process of supplying two naval warships to Sri Lanka as she was sure that the Government would not supply any military hardware to Sri Lanka, particularly naval warships which could be potentially deployed against Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar.
She said that she was amazed that the Government of India could even contemplate such a move.
"Even if there is a commitment under an old agreement for such supply of naval warships, in the present circumstances, the Government of India ought to have cancelled such an agreement," she emphasized.
The Chief Minister slammed the Indian government for being insensitive to the sentiments of people in Tamil Nadu.
"Any move to supply military hardware to Sri Lanka would be the most telling statement on the insensitivity of the Government of India to the strong sentiment in Tamil Nadu. Far from holding the Sri Lankan regime accountable for its acts of genocide and war crimes against the Tamil speaking minority in the country as any champion of democratic values should, the Government of India’s action would be seen as an act of actively working with the regime and providing them with the necessary wherewithal to act even more strongly not only against the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, but also against poor Indian fishermen," she wrote.
"I shudder to even countenance such an insult to the people of Tamil Nadu," the Chief Minister remarked.
She urged the Prime Minister to clarify the aspect without any delay and requested the PM to move immediately to cancel the agreement even if there is an existing agreement for supply of naval warships to Sri Lanka.