The proposed Indo-Sri Lanka defence co-operation agreement has
raised much apprehension amongst the Tamil people, ITAK said in press release
issued yesterday (1).
The Tamil question remains unresolved. During the past year, the
peace process has suffered severe setbacks. The Tamil people are beginning to
entertain serious doubts about the commitment of the Sri Lankan state to resolve
the Tamil question peacefully through negotiations.
The efforts to conclude a defence co-operation agreement with
India in this background, is seen by the Tamil people as a deliberate move by the
Sri Lankan state to strengthen itself militarily.
The Cease-Fire Agreement was concluded after a long and bitter
armed conflict. The Tamil people suffered immensely as a result of the armed
conflict. Their suffering has not ended yet, and hundreds of thousands of Tamil
people yet continue to be refugees and homeless. The Sri Lankan State entered in
to a Cease-Fire Agreement and commenced negotiations with the LTTE with the aid of
an international facilitator, because the Sri Lankan state accepted that there
could not be a military solution to the Tamil question.
The basis of the Cease-Fire Agreement was the military balance
that existed between the parties to the armed conflict.
The Tamil people strongly feel that it would be unjust by them,
for this military balance to be altered before an acceptable negotiated resolution
of the Tamil question is evolved.
The LTTE has more than one year ago, submitted in writing,
detailed proposals in regard to an interim self governing authority. The LTTE
simultaneously requested that dates be fixed for the commencement of talks on the
said proposals. The LTTE has agreed to discuss any proposals the Government brings
to the negotiating table in regard to the ISGA.
The pathetic position of hundreds of thousands of displaced Tamil
people renders such an interim authority an imperative need. The United National
Party has publicly announced its willingness to unconditionally support any
agreement arrived at between the Government and the LTTE. With the support of the
Tamil National Alliance, and other political parties represented in Parliament,
the Government is assured of a two-thirds majority in Parliament, in support of
any agreement relating to the ISGA.
The Government is yet reluctant to send an unequivocal message to
the LTTE in regard its willingness to commence talks on the ISGA. This attitude of
the Government diminishes the confidence of the Tamil people in the Government`D5s
commitment to a negotiated political solution, and accentuates the fear that the
Government is creating an environment that could lead to the resumption of the
It is in this background that the Tamil people fear that an
Indo-Sri Lanka defence co-operation agreement would be harmful to the peace
process and consequently to the interests of the Tamil people.
The Tamil people are conscious of India`D5s concerns in regard to
the possible involvements of others, in Sri Lanka m a manner adverse to India`D5s
However, the prime need in Sri Lanka, today, is the peaceful
resolution of the Tamil question. The Tamil people are confident that India will
not act in a manner harmful to Tamil interests. The Tamil people for the
aforestated reasons, appeal that the conclusion of the Indo-Sri Lanka defence
co-operation agreement and the commencement of development activities in the
North-East with the military dimension be not proceeded with.