The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi puts no bar on Lanka aid

New Delhi, Nov. 22: Although India has refused to send a high-level team to Oslo for a meeting of donors for the reconstruction of Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged northern and eastern provinces, it has no objections to Colombo using part of the $100-million credit line for its projects.

New Delhi’s refusal to send a delegation to the meeting, to be attended by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, is understandable given the fact that the organisation is banned here — LTTE chief Prabhakaran is wanted in an Indian court for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. However, India’s ambassador to Norway Gopal Gandhi, who was earlier posted in Sri Lanka, will put in an appearance at the meeting.

India has kept away from any direct involvement in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict after its disastrous peacekeeping role in the late eighties, but successive governments in New Delhi have repeatedly stressed that India has nothing against the Tamils of the north and the east.

In keeping with that sentiment, India will not object if some of the $100-million credit line advance to Colombo is used for projects in the Tamil region.

“It is up to the Sri Lankan government to decide where and how the money will be used,” an Indian official said. “Our only rider is that buses, trucks or construction material should be from India,” he added.

Milind Moragoda, Sri Lanka’s economic affairs minister, who is currently in India, met foreign minister Yashwant Sinha today.

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