Dec 9, 2008

India - India protests against Sri Lankan army chief's 'joker' comments

NEW DELHI: India said it has lodged a protest with Sri Lanka over certain "derogatory" remarks by its Army Chief Sarath Fonseka against some Tamil
Nadu politicians and Colombo has expressed "regret".

India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Alok Prasad took up the matter "strongly" with Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash told reporters here while commenting on remarks by Fonseka in an interview where he referred to some politicians of Tamil Nadu as "political jokers".

"The Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka promised to look into the matter and conveyed regrets should any such comment have been made," Prakash said.

Fonseka had said that the Indian Government would never influence Sri Lanka to restore the ceasefire with the LTTE and it would not listen to the "political jokers" of Tamil Nadu whose "survival depends on the LTTE".

"If the LTTE is wiped out, those political jokers like (Tamil Nationalist Movement leader) P Nedumaran, Vaiko and whoever who is sympathising with the LTTE will most probably lose their income from the LTTE," Fonseka was quoted as saying.

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