India says no military solution to Sri Lanka conflict

June 22, 2008 (AFP) – India has signalled to Sri Lanka that it wants to see an end to the island’s military campaign to help solve the decades-old Tamil separatist conflict, diplomats and officials said Sunday. In closed-door talks over the weekend with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and top officials, India’s National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan said New Delhi wanted to see renewed political efforts to bring peace.

“The Indian delegation made it clear that they did not believe a military solution was possible,” a diplomatic source close to the delegation said. “The delegation was keen that there should be a political solution.”

Narayanan, together with India’s Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, also met with the leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), seen as a political wing of the Tamil Tigers.

The delegation also met three other Tamil leaders separately and stressed the need for Tamil unity to negotiate with the Sinhalese-majority government, one of the Tamil politicians said.

Dharmalingam Sithadthan, the head of the Tamil Democratic People’s Liberation Front, said the Indian team was concerned that minority Tamil parties were badly sp