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LTTE and Tamils in Lanka are different: India

Sheela Bhatt in Tokyo | October 21, 2008 22:34 IST
Last Updated: October 22, 2008 00:34 IST

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'The LTTE is a freedom movement'

In a significant remark on the India-Sri Lankan ties, the Centre on Wednesday said there was a clear distinction between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and Tamils in the strife-torn island.   

 "What is going in Sri Lanka [Images] is a war," said a senior officer at the Ministry of External Affairs while briefing journalists who were accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Japan.   

When asked about the issue of collateral damage where innocent Sri Lankan Tamils are getting killed, he explained that "in war some damage was expected".

"There is a clear distinction between the LTTE [Images] and Tamils," he said.

He clarified that the government is not going to help the LTTE "as it is a terrorist organisation responsible for assassination of an Indian Prime Minister and not even apologised for it."

He pointedly reminded that the Tamil issue is different from the LTTE. However, India said that it would do everything to protect the rights and the humanitarian conditions of Tamils in Sri Lanka.  

A top official, accompanying the prime minister to Japan [Images], said India would also urge Sri Lanka for restraint in this regard. India is already working with Red Cross, UN bodies and with the Sri Lankan authorities for the supply of food and essential items in the conflict zone.

When asked about the "Tamil sentiments", the officer doubted that if LTTE carries widespread sympathy within India or Tamil Nadu. He said, "Even the opinion of political parties in Tamil Nadu is divided on this issue."

It is clear that India will not move in any manner that could even indirectly help the  LTTE. When asked if Indian military advisors are helping the Sri Lankan army, officer denied and quipped, "How can we advise them?"

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