Coimbatore: Defending the UPA government's stand on allowing training of Sri Lankan defence personnel in the country, Union Minister E M Sudarshan Nathchiyappan on Sunday said India co-operated with the neighbouring country as it did not want Lanka to become "another Pakistan".
"If India refused the request of Sri Lanka, the officials would be sent to China, by which they would gain strength and emerge as enemy of India," he told reporters here. He was replying to a question on the continuing agitation by pro-Eelam outfits against Congress and UPA government for reportedly allowing two Lankan officials to be trained in defence facility at Wellington in Tamil Nadu.
"India is already facing problem from Pakistan and nobody wants Sri Lanka to become another Pakistan," the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry said. He, however, said the Centre understands the sentiments of Tamils across the globe, but considering the safety of Tamils and their property, it had to toe a peaceful line and tread cautiously on this issue.
He added that Sri Lankan officials would otherwise be sent to China, by which they would gain strength and emerge as enemy of India.
To a question on Rajya Sabha elections from Tamil Nadu, he said senior Congress leaders have already finalised the issue and party general secretary Mukul Wasnik would announce the strategy during his visit to Chennai on June 25. On the opposition to divest the shares of Neyveli Lignite Corporation, he claimed the five per cent share was not given to any company, but to individuals and general public and he did not see any wrong in it.
To a question on the situation of small industries, particularly in Coimbatore region, Natchiyappan said he had studied the issue and would discuss them with industrialists during his next visit in a fortnight. On the revival of Hindustan Photo Films in Udhagamandalam, he said the matter would be discussed and a decision taken at the earliest.
When asked about plans to meet Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Natchiyappan said he has decided to meet the chief ministers of all the states, without whose support the Centre cannot implement its various schemes and projects.