President Rajapaksa expected to have bilateral talks in India

India     Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said that Mr Modi is expected to have short meetings with all the visiting heads of delegations scheduled to attend his swearing-in ceremony on Monday.This was in response to a question raised at the daily press briefing on 23 May 2014. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to leave tomorrow for New Delhi to attend the swearing in of Narendra Modi as Indian’s new Prime Minister

Question:Can you just recap for us who all has been invited for the inaugural among the regional countries?…(Inaudible)… Also there is tweet from President of Sri Lanka that in order to counter the reaction from the Tamil Nadu politicians he is considering bringing the Chief Minister of the Northern Province Justice Vigneswaran also with him. Could you just outline and confirm who is confirmed and whether you have a confirmation of the Sri Lankan President?

Official Spokesperson: Let me start with giving you the factual information that you have asked. Invitations were sent to eight leaders, and we have confirmation from seven of them. These are: from Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, from Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, from Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, from Bhutan Prime Minister Shereen Tapge, from Mauritius Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam who is the Prime Minister of Mauritius, from Nepal Mr. Sushil Koirala, and from Bangladesh Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury who is the Speaker. These were the invitations sent which have been accepted. And as you all are aware, we had also invited the Prime Minister of Pakistan; we are awaiting their response on that. As regards your question of what is the constitution of each of these delegations, it is normal diplomatic practice that it is the privilege and the prerogative of the leader of the delegation to choose who he or she would like to have in his or her delegation. As a host country India will be gracious and accept the delegation as is decided upon by the leader of the delegation of that country.

Question:My question pertains to Sri Lanka. I would like draw your attention on Sri Lanka. The entire political parties of Tamil Nadu and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu have expressed their displeasure about President Rajapaksa’s visit to India. How is the new government looking at this Tamil Nadu political parties’ and the Chief Minister’s reaction?

Official Spokesperson: I am afraid I only reflect issues relating to foreign policy. What you are referring to is beyond my normal domain because these impact on matters of a domestic nature relating to political parties and their approaches on a specific issues. So, I would not be able to answer that question. That said, I can say as the Ministry of External Affairs we take a whole of government and a whole of India approach. And it was based on that approach and understanding that an invitation was sent to a close and friendly neighbour that is Sri Lanka. (MEA India)

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