Economic support to Sri Lanka not based on communal approach - Jaishankar | Daily News

Economic support to Sri Lanka not based on communal approach - Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday justified the government’s support to Sri Lanka, saying India would be shirking its responsibility if it did not step forward to support a crisis-hit neighbour.

The economic support that India offered to Sri Lanka during its worst post-independence economic crisis was for the entire country and not based on any communal approach, he said.On the issue of Palestine, he said India stands for a two-state solution, with the two states living peacefully side-by-side.

Replying to clarifications sought by MPs on his suo motu statement on foreign policy in Rajya Sabha, the minister said India absenting from a vote against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Commission was in accordance with the long-standing position — which was also followed by previous governments — that it “is the most constructive way of addressing, advancing the interest of Tamil community in Sri Lanka.”

“That continues to be our approach,” he said.On the support to the island nation, he said, “We have given support to the entire Sri Lanka which also includes the Tamil community.”

“We have not taken the communal approach in giving support,” he said. “To have a neighbour in this kind of a serious economic situation, we would be shirking our responsibilities if we did not step forward at that moment and that is exactly what we have done.”

On the concerns of some members about India’s stand on the Palestine issue, he said New Delhi supports a two-state solution.

“We want a two-state solution with the two states living peacefully side by side,” he said.

“Some of the members suggested that our support or empathy for the Palestinians has changed. In fact, our financial support for the Palestinian refugee welfare agency has gone up in the tenure of this government.”

BJD member Sujeet Kumar raised the matter of former Navy officers being detained in Qatar for close to 100 days on allegations of espionage. Jaishankar said that it is a very sensitive case.“…because their interests are foremost in our minds, I can only say we have been seized of the matter. Our ambassador, senior officials have been in continuous touch with the Qatari Government on this. Our effort is obviously to ensure that they are not treated unfairly and that the sooner we can bring them back…so I can assure you that they are very much, very, very strongly in our priorities in respect of Qatar,” the minister said.

CPI(M) member A A Rahim raised the issue of detention of 16 Indian sailors in Nigeria.Jaishankar said the government has been in touch with the crew since August.“They are facing a number of charges in court. There are a number of charges including oil smuggling against them. We have given them consular support.

Our High Commissioner has gone to see them. It is again our endeavour to ensure that they are not unjustly treated,” the minister said. (PTI)




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