India’s MEA to brief high-level panel on impact of Sri Lanka political crisis

Top officials of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will brief a parliamentary panel on India-Sri Lanka relations, and they may be questioned on the current political crisis in the neighbouring island nation and its impact on New Delhi, Indian media reports quoted sources as saying on Sunday.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, which is headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and has the party chief Rahul Gandhi as a member, is scheduled to be briefed by the top officials of the ministry on December 14, according to a notice issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, reported.

Sources said the panel is expected to be briefed by Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale along with other senior officials.

The members will definitely question the ministry officials about the ongoing political crisis in Sri Lanka, as the stability in the island nation is in India’s interest especially from the security point of view, a source said.

Members of the panel are also keen to know China’s expanding footprint in Sri Lanka and whether it is impacting its domestic politics as well, another source said, adding that Beijing’s presence in India’s southern front is a matter of concern, and the members want to know how New Delhi is tackling it.

Sri Lanka is witnessing a political crisis since October 26 when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickeremesinghe and replaced him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sirisena later dissolved the parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered snap election. The country’s Supreme Court, however, overturned Sirisena’s decision to dissolve the parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls.

Both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa claim to be the prime ministers. Wickremesinghe says his dismissal is invalid because he still holds a majority in the 225-member Parliament.

Wickremsinghe-led alliance of several pilitical parties, the UNF, has moved three no trust motions against Rajapaksa, who has refused to step down. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has officially conveyed that the parliament does not recognise Rajapaksa as the legal prime minister until he proved his majority in the House. (Colombo Gazette)


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