India sends back Lankan airmen

Bowing to the pressure of politicians from Tamil Nadu, the defence ministry on Friday decided to send back Sri Lankan air force personnel who were undergoing training at the Tambaram airbase.

“All Sri Lankan trainees are being sent off today from this station as per instruction of the ministry of defence,” a brief defence ministry statement said.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s demand for putting an end to Indian Air Force base at Tambaram, Chennai training Sri Lankan air force personnel had triggered political reverberations, with Union shipping minister G K Vasan supporting the AIADMK leader’s line.

Vasan said on Friday that the ongoing training of Sri Lankan troops at the Tambaram air base is a matter of concern. “It is a matter of concern, considering the cruelties faced by Tamils in Lanka,” Vasan said while inaugurating a vessel traffic management system at Chennai port.

He said he strongly disagreed with the decision to train Lankan personnel and that he has taken up the matter with Union ministers concerned. The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president B S Gnanadesikan will officially convey the state Congress unit’s protest against the training, Vasan said.

Earlier, MDMK had expressed its protest against the training being imparted to Sri Lankan personnel. (Times of India)