Even as the anti-Sri Lanka mood in Tamil Nadu is getting belligerent, India has increased its annual grant to Sri Lanka. The allocation has gone up to Rs 500 crore for 2013-2014 from Rs 290 crore last year. It was Rs 181.94 crore in 2011-2012. The Budget has allocated Rs 5,550 crore as aid for foreign governments and organizations.
The grants are meant for rehabilitation of internally displaced Tamils, but parties in Tamil Nadu have accused the government there of diverting the Indian aid for other purposes. The issue could be raised again with the two main Dravidian parties, the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK.The increase has come at a time when political parties in the state have stepped up their offensive against Lankan for alleged war crimes.
Former Indian ambassador to Italy K P Fabian said that increasing the grant to Sri Lanka was important. “It is not only in the interest of Sri Lanka. It is also in our interest. The Indo-Sri Lanka relationship is important.” Sri Lanka should also understand that there is a growing international concern about the manner in which it has dealt with the Tamil question, he said.
Prof V Suryanarayana, of the Centre for Asian Studies, said India has committed to help the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka in recent years. “Housing scheme and other development projects have been announced by the Indian government with the good intention of helping Tamils,” but most of the projects have been delayed due to ‘non-cooperative attitude’ and housing for internally displaced Tamils have been delayed due to non-allotment of land by the local government”
He also pointed to the speedy progress of Chinese projects in Sri Lanka. “The projects of the Chinese government are being completed quickly with the co-operation of the Sri Lankan government,” Allocating funds to neighbours is not to compete with China. he said.