Tamil political leaders of India’s southern Tamil Nadu state have advised the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government not to keep close security ties with Sri Lanka as it would amount to a major “diplomatic blunder”.
The National Committee Head of the Naam Tamilar Party (NTP), Ayyanathan, on Wednesday has said that the NDA Government must not commit a major diplomatic blunder by cementing security ties in the south with Sri Lanka and China.
His comment comes ahead of the Sri Lankan Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera’s visit to India.
Ayyanathan claimed that the Chinese are already in control of the southern tip of Sri Lanka and soon will move closer to India and asked what the point of India saying that it needs Sri Lanka on its side.
“Now, what is the point in saying that this is for our security. Are you sharing your southern security with the Sri Lankan Government and China? This is ridiculous, it is a diplomatic blunder,” Ayyanathan told ANI.
Modi’s government has sought to increase defense cooperation with Sri Lanka as a measure to counter the Chinese power in the Indian Ocean region.
The Tamil leader said the Government of India should have stayed with Tamils and should have negotiated both security and welfare of Tamils with Sri Lanka.
“You have decimated Tamils and you are going with Sri Lanka, but Sri Lanka is going with China. This is the mockery of southern security of the country,” he said.
Ayyanathan said Chinese assistance to enhance port facility in Sri Lanka poses a huge security threat to India noting that China signed an agreement with Sri Lanka to enhance the port facility at a cost of US$ 1.4 billion during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Sri Lanka last month.
Meanwhile, DMK leader Elangovan was also critical of Vice Admiral Perera’s visit, ANI reported.
“They are accused of human rights violation. How can we allow an agreement with the Sri Lankan defence forces?” Elangovan was quoted as saying.
Sri Lankan Navy Commander’s visit to India comes on the heels of Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s meeting with the Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday in New Delhi.
During the meeting the two officials have discussed plans to further step-up defence cooperation between the two countries.
Earlier this month India Defense Secretary RK Mathur also held discussions with Mr. Rajapaksa in Colombo.
During that meeting, an array of ongoing defense cooperation initiatives was taken up for review and new avenues were identified with a view of strengthening bilateral defense ties between the two countries. Affairs concerning regional security and maritime security issues were also extensively discussed