ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sri Lanka: Structured Support

Structured Support It might not have been as soothing a balm as it was meant to be, but Jaswant Singh

It might not have been as soothing a balm as it was meant to be, but Jaswant Singh's visit to Sri Lanka was certainly a much-needed salve to the country's pride which had taken a beating with India's deliberate distancing. Moreover, the visit by the external affairs minister came at a time when ill-considered remarks by Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, leader of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), one of the constituents of the ruling coalition at the centre, had caused considerable confusion and even irritation. The minister left Colombo in no doubt about India's position vis-a-vis Sri Lanka's long-standing ethnic problem and the current tense turn of the conflict.

First, by promising humanitarian aid, India laterally endorsed Sri Lanka's right to military action to quell the LTTE resurgence and ensure some degree of stability in the region. Although the aid is in the form of foodgrains and medicines, this with the $ 100 million credit facility, the modalities of which are to be worked out, eases to an extent Sri Lanka's immediate financial constraints in urgently needed refurbishing of the military effort. There are indications, which may well have been a consequence of the Indian minister's visit, that Sri Lanka might offer a cessation of hostilities in preparation for a resumption of dialogue. This move has also been welcomed by Norway which is continuing to attempt a resolution to the crisis.

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