« Back to articlePrint this article

India rushes NSA, Foreign Secy to Lanka

Last updated on: April 24, 2009 09:53 IST

India on Friday urged the Sri Lankan government to cease its offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and declare a truce in the conflict zone. The Centre also rushed National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon to Colombo to step up its diplomatic pressure.

The decision to send the emissaries was taken at a meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A K Antony.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's efforts comes days before the elections in Tamil Nadu, which has witnessed widespread protests over the issue of innocent Tamilians trapped in the crossfire between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE.

India has also decided to increase its supply of relief material to the trapped civilians.

Sri Lanka has already rejected calls for a ceasefire, as it reportedly closed in on the last 8 sq km of LTTE territory , where Tamil Tiger chief Prabhakaran and his associates are suspected to be holed up.

On Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom had urged the Sri Lankan government to end the fighting in the region and ensure the safety of thousands of trapped civilians.

"The situation is rapidly deteriorating in Lanka," the UN chief had said, while the US had agreed that the "situation is dire in Lanka."