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News


India gets tough, calls Sri Lanka’s bluff!

By Munza Mushtaq
India has categorically warned Sri Lanka that its Prime Minister will not visit the island to partake in the country’s 60th independence anniversary celebrations on February 4, 2008 if the President Mahinda Rajapaksa led government fails to announce a political package to resolve the ethnic conflict.

Sources said that the Indian government has urged Sri Lanka to at least prepare an interim proposal before February next year.
“India is demanding that Sri Lanka pressure the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) to bring out at least a draft package before Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits the country in February,” sources claimed.

The Nation learns that the strong Indian message was delivered during several discussions held during the past few weeks, especially when a government minister met with the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, Alok Prasad this month.

“India wants to see how sincere the Sri Lankan government is about its rhetoric and so has given the Rajapaksa led administration a virtual ultimatum. India believes that everything cannot happen in one-go but something positive must be done, which is either to fully implement the provisions on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, or to at least announce an interim political package as a solution to the ethnic problem,” sources noted.

According to sources, Manmohan Singh’s visit must derive something worthwhile bilaterally or else there will be no point in India attending Sri Lanka’s diamond jubilee of independence.
“If Sri Lanka fails to please its ‘big brother-India,’ its neighbour will openly express its displeasure by not attending the Independence Day celebrations,” sources added.

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