Army cannot solve Lankan ethnic issue: Pranab Mukherjee

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Kolkata, Oct 28: Union External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has ruled out military action as solution to the ethic conflict in Sri Lanka. "India believes military solution cannot resolve the ethnic issues of the Sri Lankan minorities. For that, the devolution as recommended by the high power committee should be implemented in letter and spirit." he said to media on Monday, Oct 27.

Pranab also expressed satisfaction on his recent talks with Sri Lankan special envoy Basil Rajapaksa. During the talks with Rajapaksa in New Delhi, India had sought assurance from Sri Lanka that all humanitarian steps would be taken to protect the ethnic Tamils in the island nation during the ongoing military offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

India has pledged to provide 800 tonnes of relief material to the civilian population in conflict-hit Sri Lanka to areas where Indian origin Tamil population is predominant.

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.

Mukherjee also got an assurance from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) party chief M Karunanidhi that he 'would not precipitate' a crisis in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government over the Sri Lankan ethnic Tamils issue.

Mukherjee said that Karunanidhi had also emphasised the need to ensure a ceasefire, but ruled out a direct role for India.

ANI

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