Chennai, 9 September 2012. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposed visit to the Buddhist centre at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh has become further vitiated with Union shipping minister G.K. Vasan insisting that his trip was at the invitation of the BJP and the UPA government had nothing to do with it.
Asked to comment on Rajapaksa’s Sanchi visit in the midst of loud opposition from several political parties in Tamil Nadu, Vasan told a reporter, “He is coming at the invitation of the BJP. You should ask them”.
Reiterating his stand against India offering military training to Sri Lankan defence personnel, Vasan said he had met defence minister A.K. Antony to emphasise the same.
He however condemned the attack on Sri Lankan pilgrims in Tamil Nadu and said, “Religion, art and sports are beyond politics and no public should be harmed.
Military training and cultural exchange are two different things and there is a need to stop giving political intonations to matters relating to culture.”
“Our approach should not harm Sri Lankan Tamils”, Vasan said, adding, “We are more concerned about the safety of Tamil Nadu fishermen. Our external affairs ministry is talking to the Lankan officials about this”.
On the coalgate scam, the minister said, “UPA stands clean and so we are ready for discussion. But BJP is scared of talks and so they are disrupting the Parliament”.
On the inclusion of OBC in government promotion list, he said, “we will take the matter up for consultation”.