Sri Lanka's Minister for National Security, Lalith Athulathmudali, arrived in New Delhi on April 12 for four days of talks aimed at resolving the problems of the island republic's Tamil minority.
GV EXTERIOR Defence Ministry building in New Delhi
SV (LEFT TO RIGHT) Sri Lankan National Security Minister, Lalith Athulathmudali, Indian Defence Minister, Mr Venkataraman and Mrs Gandhi's special envoy Mr Parthasarathy
SV Athulathmudali seated at conference table PAN TO Venkataraman and delegates seated (5 shots)
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Background: Sri Lanka's Minister for National Security, Lalith Athulathmudali, arrived in New Delhi on April 12 for four days of talks aimed at resolving the problems of the island republic's Tamil minority. On April 13 he met key members of the Indian delegation, defence Minister, Ramaswamy Venkataraman, and a special envoy of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Mr G. Parthasarathy. Mr Athulathmudali entered the talks with a message from the Colombo Government that it was committed to a political solution. Speaking later at a public meeting in India's Tamil Nadu state, ancestral home of Sri Lanka's Tamil population, Defence Minister Venkataraman told his audience that India would not contemplate armed intervention on the island. He said such action would be irresponsible and would only invite a superpower to move in. He did not say which superpower that might be but Sri Lankan Tamils believe the Colombo Government has been trying to move closer to the United States. Ethnic violence brought Sri Lanka to a state of emergency last July when four hundred Tamils were killed in rioting by Sinhalese mobs. The situation was sparked mainly by an ambush by Tamil separatist guerrillas of a Sinhalese patrol. After a period of calm the guerrillas recently stepped up their campaign with attacks on Sinhalese policemen in Jaffna.