India’s National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon is scheduled to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa 9th July for discussions on recent developments concerning the Thirteenth Amendment brought about by the India-Sri Lanka accord.Menon is expected in Colombo on July 7th.
Menon who has served in Sri Lanka as High Commissioner and also held the post of foreign secretary is expected to convey a high level message from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to President Rajapaksa.
The discussions will be preceded by a breakfast meeting with President Rajapaksa and a few important officials during which important bilateral issues would be discussed.Thereafter the President and the Indian National Security adviser will commence direct discussions focusing on matters related to the 13th Constitutional amendment. President’s secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Indian high commissioner Yashwardan Kumar Sinha will also be present during this round of discussions.
Shiv Shankar Menon is expected to reiterate India’s viewpoint regarding the questions of amending the 13th amendment, devolution, Northern provincial council elections, enhancement of powers to the council, Commonwealth summit during talks with the President.
After meeting with the President, the Indian national security adviser Menon will engage in separate meetings on July 9th with delegations from the chief opposition United National Party(UNP)Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). All meetings will be on the same day.These discussions too will also concern the thirteenth amendment.
Indian Foreign minister Salman Khurshid is also expected to visit Colombo after Menons trip. The dates are yet to be finalised. It may be recalled that Khurshid telephoned his counterpart Prof. GL Peiris some weeks ago and expressed concern over proposed plans of diluting devolution. Salman Khurshid’s envisaged visit is consequential to the telephone conversation.
It may be recalled that President Rajapaksa’s intention of rushing through the 19th Constitutional amendment as an urgent bill has not been carried out as planned. Two reasons attributed for this “delay” are serious divisions within the cabinet and New Delhi’s opposition. India has sent a demarche cautioning Sri Lanka from making any changes to the 13th amendment until the Northern Provincial council elections are held.
Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa will leave for New Delhi ahead of Menon’s visit.He will be in India on July 4th.