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Tuesday, 21 February 2017 - 12:57
India says merging the North and East of Sri Lanka is not necessary
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Indian Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar told the Tamil National Alliance that India will not be pressing Sri Lanka to merge the Northern and Eastern Provinces to form a single Tamil-majority, Tamil-speaking province as envisaged by the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987.

He was reacting to a demand made by the leader of EPRLF Suresh Premachandran, that India should honor its promise to keep the North and East united.

It had even been said that it would not allow a referendum to be held on the issue.

When the united province was de-merged in 2006 by a Supreme Court order, India did not protest saying that it was for the Sri Lankan government to appeal against the judgment.

India had clearly lost interest in the issue.

Its interests lay elsewhere in Sri Lanka.

Jaishankar told Premachandran , that its water under the bridge, as the situation has changed it will be better for all concerned to make use of the various windows of opportunity which have opened recently, with the change of regime in Sri Lanka, and secure the rights of the Tamils.

He argued that it would not be wise to hold every other matter hostage to one issue - the merger of the North and East.

However, he added that India would not mind if the Tamils kept the issue alive and kept it on the table for talks with the Sri Lankan government. 

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