A joint letter that is to be signed by Tamil political parties and sent to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi comes following a request from New Delhi to formally ‘“place on record” Tamil demands for a “starting point”, according to a report in Sri Lanka’s Sunday Times.
According to a “government source” that spoke to the newspaper, the initiative from New Delhi is part of a strategy of “winning “outstanding demands” of the Tamils in Sri Lanka [to] further enhance its status” in Tamil Nadu.
“This is the rationale behind New Delhi calling upon Tamil political parties to place on record together the common demands so it could form the starting point,” it continued.
The Sunday Times went on to report that Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa will announce a “pledge to launch an ethnic reconciliation programme” next week in order to try and quell any moves by India to enforce devolution on the island and as a “damper to the upcoming UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions on Sri Lanka”.
Last week, the Sri Lankan government was handed a much-needed financial reprieve earlier today when India agreed to a deferment of US$500 million and currency swap of US$400 million, as an economic crisis on the island worsens.
The move coincides with India looking to expand several projects in the Tamil homeland, including a new train service and an oil tank deal in Trincomalee. New Delhi has sought to broaden trade links into the island for decades but has faced stiff opposition, particularly from Sinhala Buddhist nationalists.