'India to send relief to Sri Lankan Tamils'

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Chennai, Oct 27: "India will provide 800 tonnes of relief material to the civilian population in conflict-hit Sri Lanka to areas where Indian origin Tamil population is predominant," said Uniona External Affaris minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Special Advisor to Sri Lankan President Basil Rajapakse and Pranab Mukherjee after talks issued a statement jointly saying that the Sri Lankan Government will facilitate the delivery of the relief material. The Indian side called for implementation of the greater devolution to powers to the provinces as the issue of negotiated political settlement in the north came up for the discussion in the meeting.

Sri Lankan side renewed its pledge to a political process that leads to sustainable solutions. It assured India that it will ensure the safety and security of ethnic Tamils in the Island nation and that it would allow Indian medical aid to the affected people in the country's embattled north.

Both the side also agreed to deal effectively with the terrorism.

Pranab said, "Tamil Nadu government will also collect and send relief material to the affected Tamil refugees. The Sri Lanka government will assist and facilitate dispatch of humanitarian government of India relief supplies through the convoys of Sri Lanka for civilians affected by the fighting on a continuous basis."

Meanwhile, State Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said that all the undertakings given in the joint statement should be sincerely implemented.

"The situation needs immediate steps for ceasefire and it has to be taken in discussion with others. Who will take the ceasefire initiative, - whether India, any other country or any other organization, that is not clear at the moment," he said.

The escalating war in Sri Lanka has roiled Indian politics and prompted heated diplomatic exchanges between the neighbouring states.

ANI

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