Karunanidhi takes on Delhi over Sri Lanka

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 28, 2012 09:16 hrs

Chennai: Calling New Delhi's friendship with Colombo as "one sided", DMK chief M. Karunanidhi Tuesday said it was a shame that New Delhi continued to train Sri Lankan military personnel.

Karunanidhi said in a statement that Sri Lanka considered China and Pakistan as more friendly nations than India.

In such a juncture, "it is an insult to Tamil Nadu and Tamil sentiments" that the central government has decided to keep training Sri Lankan military personnel in the country.

Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju said Monday that Sri Lanka was a friendly country and India would continue to train military personnel from that country.

Karunanidhi said: "After the 2009 war (leading to the defeat of the LTTE), Sri Lanka considers China and Pakistan as (more) friendly nations than India."

Political parties in Tamil Nadu including the AIADMK and DMK, who normally don't see eye to eye on any issue, are strongly opposed to India training the Sri Lankan military.

According to Karunanidhi, China is assisting Sri Lanka in building military, naval and air force) bases in the north of the island and also setting up infrastructure for defence personnel to live there.

He said the Chinese defence minister would be in Sri Lanka Wednesday to discuss the subject.

In September, a 96-member Chinese delegation will tour Sri Lanka's south and the north, the latter predominantly Tamil areas.

China has executed Rs.36,000 crore worth of 14 projects in Sri Lanka, Karunanidhi said.

With China extending several times more help to Sri Lanka than India, on what basis was New Delhi saying that Colombo is a friendly nation, he asked.

"This can be termed as a one-sided friendship and not a congenial friendship between two nations," he said.

The DMK chief urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reconsider the statement made by Raju and send back the two Sri Lankan defence personnel who are now undergoing training in India.

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