India to work with Sri Lanka

India says it will work with Sri Lanka after both countries had shared their views on reconciliation and a political settlement in the country.

Speaking to the Indian media at the end of his two day visit to Sri Lanka, Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said that India has made its views clear, The Hindu newspaper reported.

“We have made our views clear on how we would like to see much more positive and forward movement towards reconciliation and a political resolution of the various issues which have led to ethnic politics being so polarised and fragmented in Sri Lanka in the past,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

During his stay in Sri Lanka Menon met President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa as well as the Tamil National Alliance, UNP and SLMC.

Observing that India’s views in this regard were “well known”, Menon said: “They told me their plans … and as friends and very close neighbours we exchanged opinions. It is our hope of course that they are successful in building a Sri Lanka in which every community feels at home, feels master of their own destiny and feels that they have strong stake in the success of society and country as a whole. And we will continue to work with all our friends in Sri Lanka to that end.”

President Rajapaksa, during talks with Menon, said that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) is the best forum to reach a consensus on the implementation of the 13th Amendment, according to statement from the President’s office.

President Rajapaksa explained to Menon the practical problems in devolving land and police powers to the provinces of a small country such as Sri Lanka and stressed that the structure that is implemented should apply and be acceptable to all parts of the country. The President also urged India to encourage the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to participate in the PSC and said the government was committed to taking the process forward despite obstacles.

The PSC, which was constituted last month, presently has 19 members, all from the ruling coalition — United People’s Freedom Alliance — led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Members of the PSC held their first meeting on Tuesday, and would meet again on July 26.

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