Within days of AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa becoming new Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Sri Lanka has reached out to her through a “congratulatory” letter by Foreign Minister Prof G L Peiris.
Interestingly, this comes three weeks after Jayalalithaa had asked the Centre to take immediate steps to make Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his aides stand trial in the International Court of Justice for their “war crimes”. The statement was made during an election speech.
Sources said the letter — short but crisp — was an “unprecedented” gesture on the part of Sri Lanka and Peiris had not just wished her well but also indicated Colombo’s intention to “work with her” for the welfare of the people of both countries.
After the war with the LTTE got over following the killing of Velupillai Prabhakaran in May 2009, sources said Colombo realised that “peace moves” needed to be made with the ruling dispensations in southern state of Tamil Nadu, where Tamils empathise with the Sri Lankan Tamils. This realisation has apparently prompted the Sri Lankan government to “engage” with Tamil Nadu as well as the Union government.
Peiris, who concluded his first bilateral visit to India on Tuesday, described it as “good”. He met PM Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, apart from holding bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in the last two days. The two foreign ministers discussed the issue of Indian fishermen being fired at by the Sri Lankan Navy. Peiris also briefed the Indian leaders about progress on resettlement and rehabilitation of Sri Lankan Tamils, whose numbers in the camps have come down from 2.97 lakh to 10,000. (indianexpress)