Jayalalithaa criticises defence exercises with Sri Lanka

Chennai, Dec 21 : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa accused the central government of holding "callous disregard of the strong views of the people of Tamil Nadu" over continued defence cooperation with Sri Lanka.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday, which was released here Saturday, Jayalalithaa expressed her dismay at the Indian Coast Guard's decision to participate in a marine defence exercise deputing ships and men to Trincomalee (in Sri Lanka).

Referring to her earlier letters on the issue of training Sri Lankan armed forces in India, Jayalalithaa told the prime minister that the latest developments were "in complete and callous disregard of the strong views and emotions of the people of Tamil Nadu, clearly and unambiguously conveyed to the government of India".

"This is the same Sri Lanka Navy which continues to prey upon innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu with impunity and subjects them to abduction, arrest, torture and long periods of detention," Jayalalithaa said.

"Such an overt act of defence co-operation with a nation that puts down its own hapless Tamil minority citizens and perpetrates serious human rights violations upon them, can only be termed as outrageous and condemnable," Jayalalithaa added.

She urged the prime minister to review this policy and instruct the ministry of defence not to participate in naval exercises in Sri Lanka and to immediately recall the Indian Coast Guard ships and personnel.

--IANS (Posted on 21-12-2013)

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