Jaffna: India on Saturday said the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka has provided an unparalleled opportunity to the government here to address the Tamil issue in the spirit of understanding and mutual accommodation and hoped that it would work towards “genuine” national reconciliation.
“We are convinced that a meaningful devolution process (for the minority Tamil community) building upon the 13th amendment would create the necessary condition for a lasting political settlement” to the ethnic issue in the post-LTTE era in Sri Lanka, external affairs minister SM Krishna, who is in the island nation on a four-day visit, said.
“We hope the process of dialogue and discussion would start soon with the participation of all communities. The ultimate goal is to live in dignity and peace,” he said after inaugurating India’s new consulate general here.
The minister said the end of the LTTE war has provided an “unparalleled opportunity to Sri Lanka to address the outstanding issues in the spirit of understanding and mutual accommodation.”
He also hoped that the government here would work towards “genuine national reconciliation.”
Krishna said as the normalcy returns to Jaffna, the priority of India and Sri Lanka is to resume the old ties and linkages of connectivity that existed between the two neighbours.
Krishna also announced that the Consulate General of India here would assist in setting up the Jaffna Cultural Centre and restoration of a stadium. He said India is also undertaking reconstruction of a major temple in Mannar.
The external affairs minister said that any mention of India’s relations with Sri Lanka would be incomplete without highlighting the special ties between people of the northern province, particularly Jaffna peninsula, and those from southern India.
He said while the armed conflict in the North that ended in May last year impacted all sections of Sri Lanka, the civilian population of the North was hit disproportionately.
He said the challenge before the Sri Lankan government is to resettle several thousands of internally displaced persons housed in the camps and reconstruct the northern region.
Krishna said India has tried to contribute whatever it can to alleviate the sufferings of the people of northern Sri Lanka. He said beside providing cement sheds, they are giving agricultural support.