Responding to a New York Times article, Rajapaksa said that his Government was always sensitive to India;s concerns and this had been noted by Former Indian External Affairs Secretary and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Mennon.
“Former Indian External Affairs Secretary and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Mennon has said in his 2016 book “Choices: Inside the making of India’s foreign policy” that my defense secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had a clear view of Sri Lanka’s interests which was completely compatible with India’s interests and that India had been given assurances about the nature of Sri Lanka’s relationship with China. Mennon further stated that Gotabaya was sensitive to India’s concerns and that the assurances given to India by my Government were respected throughout the duration of the Congress Party Government which was voted out in May 2014,” Rajapaksa said in a statement.
Rajapaksa also denied the allegations in the New York Times report which alleged that 7.6 million USD had been given to him as campaign contributions by China Harbor Co during the 2015 Presidential Elections.
Rajapaksa said that the current Government has cleared China Harbour Co of any wrongdoing and the Port City project was handed back to them as a result.
“No contribution was made by China Harbour Co to my 2015 presidential election campaign. While claiming that my ‘affiliates’ and ‘campaign aides’ had got the money and that ‘volunteers’ had delivered the cheques to Temple Trees, the writer of the New York Times article has been intentionally vague about who had given this money and who had received it,” he said.
Rajapaksa also said the report seems to be a way of carrying out a smear campaign without incurring any liability. (Colombo Gazette)