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India wanted LTTE, Lanka to allow intervention

[Express Buzz, Monday, 20 December 2010 09:44 No Comment]

Contrary to the general perception, India was keen that the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE showed restraint and accepted international intervention during the three-year Eelam War IV, which ended in the decimation of the LTTE by the Lankan armed forces in May 2009, The Island said on Saturday, quoting the whistle blower website Wikileaks.

As per an US embassy cable dated April 27, 2007, India had expressed serious concern that the situation in Lanka was rapidly deteriorating during the year.

The cable quoted Mohan Kumar, Joint Secretary in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, as saying that the situation in Sri Lanka was “bad, really bad, beyond bleak” and that the government in Colombo and the LTTE had “scant regard” for the international community. Kumar was skeptical about any progress being made on the political front anytime soon.

According to The Island, the US cable was based on a discussion between New Delhi-based Indian and US officials on April 26, 2007.

The paper further said that the contrary to the then perception in New Delhi, the Lankan forces had liberated the Eastern Province sooner than expected. It was done in just three months.

CHINESE INFLUENCE: The cable went on to say that the Indian official had also sought a briefing from the US regarding Sri Lanka’s growing relations with China. “Kumar said it would be helpful to get the American assessment of the port being built in Hambantota, on which he estimated, China was willing to spend US $500 million to help develop.”

He noted that China has increased its influence with President Rajapaksa, opining that Rajapaksa had a “soft spot” for China following his visit to Beijing in March that year.

A New Delhi-based British diplomat, was also involved the discussion. The US embassy identified the British official as Alex Hall-Hall.

JOINT FRONT ON BANGLADESH: Kumar suggested that there was an opportunity for the US, the UK and India to agree on a “core message” to take to the then Bangladeshi caretaker government, “pressing for elections and voter list reforms, providing support for the government as long as it sticks to a schedule for elections, and making clear that the military needs to remain out of politics.”

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