India commits additional USD 100Mn to rehabilitate Tamil Refugees

Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday announced that India is willing to give Sri Lanka an aid to the tune of USD 100Mn to help the island nation settle down the Internally Displaced Tamils (IDTs). Chidambaram said that the India govt. is awaiting a concrete report plan from Sri Lanka on rehabilitation efforts. India had pledged an aid of similar tune in July this year after the Sri Lankan govt. announced its victory in the 25 year long war against the LTTE.

We announced that another Rs.500 crore would be released. But we are yet to get the project report from the Sri Lankan government,” he (Chidambaram) said.

The war ravaging the Northern Sri Lanka has left more than 260, 000 people homeless who are being kept in military-run camps as of now. Recently a delegation of 10 Indian MPs from the state of Tamil Nadu had visited the camps in Sri Lanka and had presented a report to the government.

Starting October 15, the Sri Lankan govt. under President Rajapakshe has started the process of sending the IDTs back to the areas they had left when war was at its peak. To start of a total of 58,000 Tamils will be move back to their homes and villages during the first phase in 15 days, as assured by Colombo to the Indian MPs’ team.

Sri Lankan Tamils are closely related to the Tamils in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu which creates pressure on the Indian govt. to protect them.

Our concern is that the displaced Tamils should be resettled in their homes as early as possible,” the minister (Chidambaram) told reporters in Tamil Nadu.

India at one time has unique influence on Sri Lanka but has stayed away for the past two years since the war intensified. The pressure from Indian Tamil population also ensured that Indian govt. could not help the Sri Lankan govt. openly with military aid in fighting the rebels. This has given opportunity to China and Pakistan to get foot hold in the region.

China is helping Sri Lanka build the Hambantota port, which is viewed by many as Chinese a part of the “String of Pearls” strategy of building relations with countries along sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea.

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