New Delhi:  Expressing concern over the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday made it clear that political reconciliation is a must for calm in that country and said India will strive to ensure dignity and self respect for the ethnic minority.
    
"It will be our effort to work with the government of Sri Lanka to ensure that Tamil population in Sri Lanka are given a chance to lead a life of dignity and self respect as equal citizens of that country," Singh said in the Rajya Sabha while replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address.
    
The Prime Minister said the Sri Lankan government must talk to the Tamil leadership and political reconciliation was a must to bring lasting peace there to resolve the Tamils' issue.
    
"There are problems in Sri Lanka. We have been worried about the fate of Tamil people in Sri Lanka. It has been our effort to deal with the Government of Sri Lanka that there must be political reconciliation, that without national reconciliation, the situation cannot remain calm. The Sri Lanka government must, therefore, take the initiative to talk to the Tamil leadership in Sri Lanka," Singh said.
    
During the debate on the issue on Thursday, members from DMK, AIADMK and CPI attacked the government saying it was not dealing with the problem seriously. Tiruchi Siva (DMK), V Maitreyan (AIADMK) and D Raja (CPI) were on their feet soon after the Prime Minister's reply ended and sought concrete steps by the government to resolve the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka. Chairman Hamid Ansari, however, did not allow them to speak after the Prime Minister had replied.

PM appeals parties to back land pact with B’desh

Prime Minister on Friday appealed to all political parties to show "wisdom" to endorse land accord with Bangladesh, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament during the current session.
    
"As a means of promoting ties between the two countries, this House and the other House would have the wisdom to endorse the land border agreement that I signed in Bangladesh," Singh said in Rajya Sabha while replying to Motion of Thanks to the President's Address.
    
Singh's appeal came at a time when BJP is opposed to the land swap agreement saying it would compromise country's territorial integrity. Referring to the recent visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Bangladesh, Singh said it was deeply appreciated by the people and government of that country. "I hope the political parties will show the same wisdom in passing the Land Boundary Agreement Bill that I propose to bring in the Parliament," the Prime Minister said.
 
He said this agreement would ensure peace and tranquility along the borders with Bangladesh and peace and order in both the countries. The Constitution Amendment Bill, cleared by the Cabinet last month, is likely to be tabled in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament.
    
The Bill, which will replace India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement, 1974, involves exchange of 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves on Indian soil. Bangladesh has already ratified the pact. Indian enclaves in Bangladesh are spread over 17,149 acres, while Bangladesh enclaves in India are located in 7,110 acres of land. Additional protocols for 1974 Land Boundary Agreement, signed during Singh's visit to Dhaka in September 2011, require a constitutional amendment.

(Agencies)

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