India has no problem with refugees returning to Sri Lanka

Vikas SwarupIndia will have no problem if Sri Lankan refugees want to return their homeland with the help of their Government, said the official spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Vikas Swarup in response a question on sending back Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu, New reported.

“The meeting that you (reporter) referred to the External Affairs Minister had in Colombo, and I was also present in that meeting. I do remember that operating thing was that voluntarily return of these people and the External Affairs Minister categorically told S.C. Chandrahasan that as long as this is voluntarily, these people themselves want to go back with the cooperation of the Sri Lankan government why should we have any objection on that at all,” he said.

“Foreign secretary is going to Colombo this weekend to discuss economic cooperation with Sri Lanka and to pursue various initiatives and ideas that were discussed during the two high-level visits by President Maithripala Sirisena and earlier Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, so that is the context in which proceeding to Sri Lanka,” he added.

Nearly 2,500 Sri Lankan Tamils living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu are now ready to go back home, and are waiting for the Government of India to provide ships to ferry them back to their homeland.

Their list was submitted to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on August 19 by S.C. Chandrahasan, founder-treasurer of the Organisation for Eelam Refugees’ Rehabilitation (Offer) as per her suggestion made when he called on her during a visit to Colombo on February 6 this year.

Swaraj promised to arrange ships to ferry those returning home voluntarily along with their belongings free of cost. The Indian Government will bear the expenses involved in arranging the ships.