India says cannot cut economic ties with Sri Lanka due to fear of China’s influence

Aug 02, New Delhi: India fears that China would displace Sri Lanka’s northern neighbor as a strategic and trading partner if it imposes economic sanctions against Sri Lanka as demanded by the pro-Tamil political parties in Tamil Nadu.

Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday has told the Tamil Nadu MDMK party leader Vaiko that India cannot afford to restrict economic ties with Sri Lanka in order to pressure the Sri Lankan government to alleviate the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils as Tamil Nadu parties allege, Hindustan Times reported.

The Prime Minister has told the MDMK leader Vaiko that such a move would only encourage China to displace India as a strategic and trading partner of Sri Lanka.

MDMK leader Vaiko on Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi to discuss several issues including the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils.

Responding to the Prime Minister Vaiko has said that China is already aiding the Sri Lanka naval forces to attack Indian fishermen and is more of an ally of Pakistan than India.

China has been a strong supporter of Sri Lanka providing economic, political and military assistance. China is the largest aid donor to Sri Lanka and has sponsored several heavy infrastructure projects in the island. It has been a strong ally of Sri Lanka in international forums as well.

The Hindustan Times report says that since the election of pro-Tamil Jeyaram Jeyalalithaa to Tamil Nadu Assembly as Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu politicians are competing against each other to address the plight of Lankan Tamils living in camps and alleged harassment of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy.

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