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Debutant Basil - a successful troubleshooter for Sri Lanka

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Debutant Basil - a successful troubleshooter for Sri Lanka
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Last week, Basil Rajapaksa MP was in New Delhi and he successfully managed to difuse the simmering tensions and concerns of the Indian Government by presenting the Sri Lanka’s case convincingly to the Indian authorities. Even Pranab Mukerjee, India’s External Affairs Minister openly expressed satisfaction on his recent talks with Sri Lankan special envoy Basil Rajapaksa. A pat by Mukerjee

As a special envoy of Sri Lanka’s President, Basil Rajapakse turned out to be a very successful troubleshooter in his debut in the fathomless international political arena.

By handling issues diplomatically, he was able to reduce the tension in the wake of the politically motivated protests that were taking place in Tamil Nadu led by the Chief Minister and Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) party chief M. Karunanidhi in moves to pressurize the Indian Government to distance itself from support to Sri Lanka in the country’s fight against the LTTE.

Subsequent to the successful negotiation Pranab Mukerjee publicly announced India’s resolve to crush terrorism and also of further strengthening relations between Sri Lanka and India on the key issue of the ongoing military operations to defeat terrorism. Mukherjee also ruled out any direct role of India in Sri Lanka.

Talks with Basil Rajapakse helped Mukherjee even to obtain an assurance from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi that he "would not precipitate" a crisis in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government over the Sri Lankan ethnic Tamils issue.

Asian Tribune contacted Basil Rajapakse MP after his return from New Delhi, and he said that he welcomes the humanitarian assistance and concerns of the people and the leaders of Tamil Nadu.

Given below excerpts of the interview Asian Tribune had with Basil Rajapakse MP:

Asian Tribune: We learn from news report that Tamil Nadu government is collecting money for the purpose of humanitarian aids to the Sri Lankan Tamils who have been trapped in the war zone in Vanni. Last Tuesday, M. Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has donated from his personal money of Indian Rupees 10 lakhs.

Following the chief minister, the state ministers and others also contributed and they have collected more than 16 lakhs of Indian Rupees in a day alone. They want to buy medicine and food items to send to Sri Lanka.

Basil Rajapakse M.P : We welcome this humanitarian move of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. At the moment, some other countries like Japan, USA through various organizations have given assistance for this purpose. But India has always helped Sri Lanka. Even during the time of tsunami India gave us lot of assistance. This is a very important move by the Indian government and they have also helped Sri Lanka whenever the country was affected by natural calamities.

Sri Lanka President has said that the purchasing power of the people in these uncleared areas living under the Tigers’ control is weak and they are compelled to depend on handouts. Therefore, he has decided to issue free ration. Issuing food and essential commodities is a huge burden on the government. But on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, we continue to issue free ration because those living in those uncleared areas are Sri Lankans and we consider it as our responsibility to help our own kith and kin.

But when I met India’s external affairs minister Mr.Pranab Mukherjee and the Indian officials on last 26 October in New Delhi, I brought this matter to their notice. Then they came forward to help those internally displaced people under the LTTE control area by providing food and medicine. We welcome this move by India.

Asian Tribune: Do you welcome this gesture of the Tamil Nadu Government to provide assistance to the people in the North of Sri Lanka?

Basil Rajapakse M.P : Yes, yes, I think they are showing genuine interest in the people of the North who are being held as human shield by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. We are indeed thankful to the Chief Minister and the people of Tamil Nadu for their good gesture and for coming forward to help the people and alleviate the human miseries caused by war waged by LTTE leader Prabakaran against his own Tamil people and the elected government of Sri Lanka.


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