The National Security Advisor M K Narayanan said that India has no plans to lift the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and for “direct intervention” in peace initiatives in Sri Lanka where hostilities has escalated rapidly to civil war proportions. While calling the LTTE “dangerous,” he said that he does not “think that the LTTE will pose any threat as they would like to get the support of India to some extent.” Narayanan also dismissed speculation around
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s comment that the ban on the LTTE was “debatable” saying that the Federal Government and the State Government had full convergence. Karunanidhi is a major supporter of the LTTE and was even suspected of playing a role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Acknowledging that Sri Lanka view India as a major player, he said that the nation has decided not “to involve itself” because of “past experience” but promised that it was “extending all cooperation.” Not specifying what cooperation the nation was extending, Narayan said that the “Lankan government is very sensitive in going ahead with the devolution of power to the Tamils” as “they have problems in dealing with the LTTE.” He also acknowledged that “Norwegian negotiators and the monitoring mission’s representatives” consult India on ways to take the peace process forward.
Referring to his discussions with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Managala Samaraveera, Narayanan said that from India’s perspective “the importance of safety and security of the Tamils, devolution of powers, and distinction between LTTE and other Tamils” was important. It is not clear if Sri Lanka agrees with the distinction between the LTTE and the Tamils or whether it was a Lankan Government position that has been adopted by India. In either case, this is a dangerous trend as it means that the Lankan Government can now argue that it does not need to talk to the LTTE since it does not talk for the Lankan Tamils. Even a cursory conversation with any Lankan Tamil will show that they view the LTTE as their primary negotiator.