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Mar 29, 2013 at 04:05pm IST

Centre talks tough, Khurshid rejects TN resolution against Sri Lanka

New Delhi: Days after the DMK pulled out of the Centre and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa barred Sri Lankan cricketers from playing in Chennai, the Centre has taken a tough stand on politics over Sri Lankan Tamils. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has rejected the Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution against Colombo.

The resolution sought a separate Eelam for Sri Lankan Tamils and said Sri Lanka should not be treated as a friendly country by India. Speaking to CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar on this week's Devil's Advocate, Khurshid said while the government was sensitive to Tamil concerns, it won't accept such demands. Following is the transcript of an excerpt from the interview:

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Karan Thapar: How do you as External Affairs Minister respond to the resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly asking New Delhi not to consider Sri Lanka as a friendly country, to impose economic sanctions and most importantly to push at the United Nations for a resolution that would call for a referendum on Eelam?

Salman Khurshid: I take it on board that there are very strong feelings in Tamil Nadu and not just of other parties, but our own party members have very strong feelings. And we have taken those feelings on board. These feelings are not entirely out of sync with what many people in the world think. At the same time we do believe that the negotiation we have done with Sri Lanka, the dialogue we have with Sri Lanka and the effort we have made with Sri Lanka is equally important.

Karan Thapar: You say you have taken the Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution on board and you say it is in sync with the feelings that many people have within your party.

Salman Khurshid: Not all of it, but a lot of it.

Karan Thapar: I want to ask are you for instance considering declaring the country unfriendly?

Salman Khurshid: No.

Karan Thapar: Are you considering economic sanctions?

Salman Khurshid: No.

Karan Thapar: Would you consider at the UN passing a resolution or encouraging people to pass a resolution to call for a referendum on Eelam?

Salman Khurshid: No.

Karan Thapar: So in other word those three critical aspects of the Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution, you've rejected?

Salman Khurshid: Long ago. I mean there is no question of accepting that and that is not the only state that has a stake in this. What about the other states? There are many other assemblies. The rest of India is not supporting this. If all of India was supporting it, it would be another matter. But if one state supports something we are sensitive to their concerns, but we don't have to necessarily accept everything they say.

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