India pitches for devolution of powers by Lankan govt to minority Tamils

Topics sri lanka | Narendra Modi

Representative Image

India on Saturday pitched for devolution of powers by the Sri Lankan government to the minority Tamils in the island to realise their expectations of equality, justice, peace and dignity and take forward the process of peace and reconciliation.

The issue figured prominently in a virtual bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In the talks, Modi emphasised on full implementation of the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, saying it is essential for the peace and reconciliation process, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The 13th amendment provides for devolution of power to the Tamil community in the neighbouring country.

India has been pressing Sri Lanka to implement the 13th amendment which was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987 which envisaged devolution of powers to the Tamils.

The two leaders also deliberated on a range of key issues including on ways to deepen defence and security ties as well as trade and investment cooperation.

"The outcomes of the summit are substantial, forward looking and will help in setting an ambitious agenda to deepen ties," Joint Secretary in the Indian Ocean division in the MEA Amit Narang said at a media briefing.

The two leaders also exchanged views on the fishermen issue and agreed to continue and strengthen the ongoing "constructive and humanitarian" approach to deal with it, Narang added.

In the talks, Modi also announced a grant assistance of USD 15 million for promotion of Buddhist ties with Sri Lanka.

In his opening remarks, Modi said he was confident that the massive electoral victory by the ruling party in Sri Lanka backed by Rajapaksa government's policies will facilitate deeper cooperation between the two countries.

"An opportunity has come to begin a new chapter in India-Sri Lanka ties after your parties massive electoral victory. People from both countries are looking at us with new hope and expectations," Modi said.

Rajapaksa was sworn in as Sri Lankan prime minister for a fresh term on August 9 after his party, Sri Lanka People's Front, secured a two-thirds majority in the parliamentary polls.

Modi said India gives priority to its relations with Sri Lanka as he mentioned his government's neighbourhood first policy as well as SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) doctrine.

It was Prime Minister Modi's first such virtual bilateral engagement with a leader of a neighbouring country. For Rajapaksa, it was the first diplomatic engagement with a leader of a foreign country after he was sworn in as prime minister.

On the Tamil issue, Narang said both the leaders exchanged views on the reconciliation process.

"Prime Minister Modi called on the new government in Sri Lanka to work towards realising the expectations of Tamils for equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka by achieving reconciliation," he said.

He said Modi and Rajapaksa expressed satisfaction over robustness of defence cooperation and agreed to further strengthen maritime security ties.

Narang said the technical discussions on Sri Lanka's request for deferment of debt repayments are going on: MEA after Modi-Rajapaksa talks.


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel