India assures support for reconciliation

Indo Lanka  Sushma-SwarajIndia has expressed support for Sri Lanka on its reconciliation and development policies. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was here on a two-day visit, conveyed this to President Maithripala Sirisena when she discussed a number of matters with him nearly for an hour on Saturday morning.

She also expressed India’s appreciation of Mr. Sirisena’s address to Parliament last month when a resolution on constitutional reforms was introduced, a release issued by the President’s office said.

On Ms. Swaraj’s meeting with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader, R. Sampanthan, India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Y.K. Sinha said Mr. Sampanthan and other TNA leaders apprised the Minister of various efforts made since January 2015 in “moving forward” the reconciliation and political processes. They expressed their readiness to work with the government [of Sri Lanka] in fulfilling aspirations of all people of Sri Lanka.

Mr. Sampanthan, also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, later told The Hindu that while his party would continue to work with the Sri Lankan government towards finding an acceptable solution to the Tamil question, India should remain concerned in getting the issue resolved “in a reasonable way and in an amicable manner”.

Naseer Ahamed, Chief Minister of the Eastern Province and Deputy Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, who also met Ms. Swaraj along with his party colleagues, said the Minister was for carrying out the process of constitutional reforms expeditiously.

Fishermen’s issue

Mr. Sampanthan also raised the problem being faced by fishermen of the Northern Province due to “bottom trawling”, allegedly by fishermen of Tamil Nadu, and wanted the Indian government to reduce this method of fishing.

President Sirisena sought India’s assistance for his government’s comprehensive programme to improve the health and education of people living in estates who were essentially of the recent Indian origin, to which Ms. Swaraj favourably responded.

Mano Ganesan, Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) chief, wanted India to show as much concern to persons of the recent Indian origin as to Tamils in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

IT park inauguration

Inaugurating an exhibition on digital India in the city, Ms. Swaraj announced India’s offer to set up an IT park in Sri Lanka that could attract investments, and said this had figured in her meeting with her counterpart Mangala Samaraweera. “Both sides agreed to explore this issue further.” she said. (The Hindu)

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