NID: SRI LANKA INDIA AID TO REFUGEES

Created: 2/23/1985

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NKA-INDIA: Aid to Refugee*

Pr/me Minister Gandhi yesterday assured Sri Lankan refugees ol support snd protection in Tamil Nadu and ordered increased patrols of coastal waters between lhe two countries. |

eek of rising pressure from Indian and Sri Lankan Tamils. Gandhi told authorities in Tamil Nadu that New Delhi will provide funds to care for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who have been fleeing the violence in northern Sri Lankaate of moreer day. Press reportscale the number of new refugees may'j7iqourlng February, placing severe strains on local resources. |

Meanwhile. Sri Lankan Tamil separatist leaders, renewing claims ihai the refugees are an international problem, called on the UN to accuse

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earlier this week in Madurai in support nf Tamil relugees and cal'ed on Gandhi to protect Tamil lives

Comment: Tamil demands for nn miernaiionai investigation may pui pressure on Colombo io- to the bargaining table, but Ihey are also meant to influence New Delhi lo consider miliiary intervention. Gandhi, however, like his mother, strongly opposes internationalizing what lieegional issue. His quick promise ot support to the refugees probably is aimed at defusing Sr< Lankan Tamil eflorls to involve outside powers in the affair. He also has ruled out. for the time being, lhe possibility oi Indian intervention

Both countries will continue to 1ry toilitary Incident, but increased Indian patrolling and Sri Lankan naval surveillance in the narrow Palk Straitlash even more likely. In recognition of that danger. Colombo has renewed its call lor joint palrols. and New. for ;ne lirsi time saidI consideijDIA. NSA-

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