Indian Politicians Might Have Developed “Amnesia” - Ranil Tells Tamil TV Channel

In remarks that will raise eyebrows in Delhi, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe told Thanthi TV that Indian politicians might have developed “amnesia” over the fact that India had assisted Rajapaksa in the LTTE war of 2009.

“Without the help of India, President Rajapaksa could not have wiped out the LTTE. He got that help and he agreed to give concessions even beyond the 13th amendment ... But he did not do so ...,” the Sri Lankan Prime Minister said.

Asked specifically about the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s denials of help to Sri Lanka, especially because of opposition from its alliance partner the DMK, he said, “Amnesia, you know is very common among politicians.”

In other potentially controversial comments, Wickramasinghe accused the TNA government in the Northern Province and Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran of being “irresponsible” in passing a resolution for an international genocide investigation to look into allegations dating back to the 1970s. The Prime Minister said that in that case, not only would the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE had to be charged with killings, but so would the Indian Peace Keeping Force that went in to assist in the late 1980s.

“Casualties took place under the Sri Lankan security forces, the IPKF and also by the LTTE ... But to say that it was only the Government of Sri Lanka [is wrong].”

Wickramasinghe also referred to the fishermen issue, which is likely to come up during Modi’s visit, even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is discussing the next round of negotiations over fishing rights,and the arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lanka in Colombo this weekend.

Accusing India of double standards over friction with the Sri Lankan government, while sticking to its position on Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen, he said, “Why do you all pick up the Italian sailors ...? You say you are friendly with Italy, show that same magnanimity to Italy that you want us to show.”

Sri Lanka will handle its relations with India and China “separately” from each other, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe told a Tamil TV Channel.

Wickramasinghe blamed the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for “playing the China card against India and India card against China.” He added that Modi’s visit was a “goodwill one to restore the ties between the two countries.”

(For full interview visit: http://thne.ws/SLRanil)

(with inputs from The Hindu)

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