New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said the UPA government rejects the Tamil Nadu assembly resolution calling upon it to treat Sri Lanka as an unfriendly state, impose economic sanctions on Colombo and ask the UN to pass a resolution calling for a referendum on an independent Eelam state.
In an interview with Karan Thapar on CNN IBN’s “Devil’s Advocate” programme, Khurshid said all the Tamil members of the government supported this position, including Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
Asked how he responded to the resolution, he said: “I take it on board that there are very strong feelings in Tamil Nadu… Our own party members have it too, we have taken it on board… But ultimately negotiations with Sri Lanka and discussions and efforts we have taken for rehabilitation (of displaced Tamils) is very important.”
He said a firm “no” to the three demands of the resolution. “There is no question of accepting them,” said Khurshid.
He said the Tamil Nadu assembly resolution was not supported by other state assemblies — “the rest of India is not supporting it”.
Asked if Chidambaram, who is from Tamil Nadu, would express different views from the UPA, Khurshid said: “I dont think that Chidambaram has taken a different view.”
On the pulls and pushes of coalition partners in a federal set up, he said the “government is in full control… we have delivered on every position”.
Asked if India’s foreign policy was a case of “tail wagging the dog”, he said: “In a democracy the aggregate of claims form the nation’s claim… It is important that we take everyone on board, nothing wrong in persuading everybody.”
“I think all partners have pulls and pushes and we have to find a position in domestic and international affairs.”
Khurshid said he believed that though disappointed, the Sri Lankan government would understand the compulsions that led the Tamil Nadu government to refuse permission to its players and officials to participate in IPL games played in Chennai.
On Wednesday, the Tamil Nadu assembly urged India to introduce a resolution in the UN Security Council seeking a referendum in Sri Lanka to carve out an independent Tamil Eelam state.
On Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that her government would allow IPL fixtures in the state only if no Sri Lankan player, umpire, official or support staff took part in the matches.
Khurshid, speaking about this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Colombo, made it clear that the government was party to the collective decision of all Commonwealth heads of government to hold the meeting in Colombo in November.
But he added that the government had an open mind about the possibility that this decision could be collectively changed.
Jayalalithaa has also demanded that India should boycott the CHOGM meet in Colombo.