Sri Lanka
India does not condemn LTTE air strike
Mar 28, 2007 - 8:19:12 PM

New Delhi, March 28 - India Wednesday voiced concern over rising violence in Sri Lanka but stopped short of condemning the spectacular air strike by Tamil Tiger guerrillas on a military airfield in the island's capital.

Reacting to the air bombing by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - two days ago, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said here: 'We are very concerned at the escalation of violence in Sri Lanka. We have made this clear to everyone. Air strike is just one example of this violence.'

Two LTTE light aircraft flew from Tiger-held territory in the country's north towards capital Colombo and dropped bombs at an air base at the Katunayake international airport and then flew back, covering around 500 km at night. It was the first time any insurgent group in the world had used planes.

Sri Lanka has described the LTTE air raid as a threat to the world, including to countries in South Asia.

Menon said it was time for all parties in Sri Lanka to come to the negotiating table to end the 'humanitarian tragedy'.

'We encourage Sri Lankans to find a solution to the crisis themselves,' he said, when asked if India would consider a more pro-active involvement to help find a solution to the ethnic conflict.

Menon also expressed concern over the displacement of people in Sri Lanka, where tens of thousands have fled their homes to escape unending violence. Nearly 20,000 have also sailed to India.

Menon rebutted reports that insinuated that India-made radars failed to detect the LTTE aircraft flying from Wanni region to Colombo.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse is to raise the issue of growing terrorism in his country at the forthcoming SAARC summit that begins here April 3.

'We know this - will be one of the issues, and it will be one of the big issues at the SAARC summit,' Menon said.

Sri Lanka has pressed for a revision of the 1987 SAARC convention on suppression of terrorism and updating it in the light of new developments.

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