Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna made a special statement in the Indian Rajya Sabha today with regard to Sri Lanka.
He stated that it is the Indian government’s desire to continue the historic relationship it has shared with its neighbouring country.
Indian media reports indicate that the DMK and ADMK parties led by Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha respectively, protested against the Foreign Minister’s statement.
The foreign minister’s statement did not place as much emphasis on the Channel 4 video and the resolution forwarded by the US to the Geneva Human Rights Council, as these parties expected.
However, the foreign minister reiterated that India would continue its support in Sri Lanka’s development program.
The statement made by Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna comprises of 20 key points.
He began the speech with a reminder that the government has continued to enlighten India on the state of the Tamil people in the country since August last year.
According to the statement, almost 300,000 people were displaced after the end of the conflict in 2009 and the Indian government has been the welfare and wellbeing of these people and their resettlement and rehabilitation.
The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June 2009 immediately after the conflict announced a grant of 500 million rupees for relief, rehabilitation and resettlement work in Sri Lanka.
India also announced the construction of 50,000 houses, mainly for IDPs in Sri Lanka.
A Memorandum of Understanding for construction of these houses was signed between India and Sri Lanka on 17th January 2012 in Colombo and the project is expected to be completed within three.
The foreign minister also stated that he would like to underline that it is mainly as a result of the Indian government’s constructive engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka and their considerable assistance programme that a degree of normalcy is beginning to return to the Tamil areas in Sri Lanka.
There has also been progress given the withdrawal of emergency regulations by the Government of Sri Lanka and the conduct of elections to local bodies in the Northern Province of the country.
On the subject of the Channel 4 video, he stated that although concerns have been expressed by various quarters on allegations of human rights violations, including as shown in the Channel 4 documentaries, it is the responsibility of the Sri Lankan Government, in the first instance to investigate and inquire into them through a transparent process.
The Government of India has, nonetheless, emphasised to the Government of Sri Lanka the importance of a genuine process of reconciliation to address the grievances of the Tamil community.
On the issue of the resolution forwarded to the UN Human Rights Council by the United States, SM Krishna stated that as far as India’s position on the resolution is concerned, a view will be taken as and when the time is finalized for consideration of the draft resolution on Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council.
He also told the honourable members of the house that the Sri Lankan authorities had said they would be happy to receive an all-party delegation of their Parliament and that the Indian government is working to undertake such a visit at the earliest.