India reiterates support for Sri LankaJune 29, 2012, 9:22 pm
The Indian government yesterday reiterated its commitment to support Sri Lanka’s national reconciliation efforts during talks the visiting Indian Defence Advisor, Shivshanker Menon had with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and later Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
The Indian High Commission said that Menon’s visit had taken place in the context of regular consultations and exchange of views between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka.
Menon called on President Rajapaksa yesterday morning. External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris was present at the meeting. The former Indian HC in Colombo also met Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
Menon also met TNA leader R. Sampanthan.
The Indian HC said Menon had discussed recent developments, bilateral relations and areas of common concern. He was quoted as saying: "I was also briefed on steps being taken by the Government of Sri Lanka on political reconciliation and settlement. While this is a Sri Lankan issue and something that Sri Lanka has to do, we will continue to remain engaged with all concerned and offer any support required in this regard.
"India has always stood for a united Sri Lanka within which all citizens can live in equality, justice, dignity and self-respect. We have worked closely with the Government of Sri Lanka on relief, rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs. India’s assistance was appreciated by the Sri Lankan leadership in all my meetings. We remain committed to continue our cooperation.
"We also discussed the fishermen’s issue. It was noted that the practical arrangements of October 2008 should be adhered to until an alternative mechanism was agreed upon. We agreed that fishermen’s associations on both sides, which had met in the past and reached some understandings, needed to meet again to work on developing this further. This could then serve as the basis for finding a solution to this humanitarian issue.
"On the bilateral front, we noted that most of the Indian-assisted projects were proceeding well and several projects, particularly those relating to the development of railway infrastructure in the Northern and Southern Provinces, were being implemented well ahead of schedule. In the past two years, India has committed US$ 750 million under lines of credit and another US$ 350 million under grants-in-aid. There are a number of other new projects under consideration.
We also discussed maritime cooperation and other security related issues. It was agreed that we could take this further.
Sri Lanka is our close neighbour, with whom we enjoy a multifaceted and dynamic relationship. We look forward to strengthening and further developing this engagement."
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