Monday, December 31, 2007

India a major factor in Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa

Colombo : India is "a major factor" in any resolution of the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict and Sri Lankans must realise this, says Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Asked about India's role in finding a solution to the dragging conflict, Rajapaksa told the state-run Sunday Observer: "India is a major factor and we have recognised it from the very beginning.

"Lots of people talk about the international community but we believe that India is the major factor in our problem.

"We have to realise the importance of India because it is becoming a superpower," he added.

Rajapaksa, a brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, added: "It is true that India has concerns over us. When they are powerful, they have to think about their security. It is natural they should be concerned about what is happening around them. So we have to be concerned about their concerns.

"Whatever steps we are taking, we are briefing them. We do not have anything to hide. We have won their confidence. We do not want to do anything that will harm their security and their concerns.

"They know that we are not against the Tamil community and we are doing all these only to defeat terrorism," he said.