Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit on Saturday that Sri Lanka needs to complete the process of devolution of power to provinces by implementing its constitution’s 13th amendment.
Both sides emphasised that their main priority for bilateral cooperation was security and counter-terrorism. This was stated by Modi in his statement before the media after holding formal discussions with the visiting Sri Lankan prime minister. ‘I am confident that the government of Sri Lanka will realize the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace, and respect within united Sri Lanka.
For this, it will be necessary to carry forward the process of re-conciliation with the implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka,’ said Modi. Rajapaksa was on his first official visit to India after being appointed prime minister, following the election of his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president in November 2019. Sri Lanka’s New President Gotabaya:
The View From New Delhi The Indian PM had also given the same message when President Rajapaksa had visited India soon after he assumed office.
Always a pleasure meeting my friend PM @narendramodi and exchanging views on global, regional and bilateral issues of mutual importance for our nations.
The discussions focused on rethinking our strategic approach in security, economic, social and cultural sectors. pic.twitter.com/8qTGeIQWfo – Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) February 8, 2020 Modi said that both leaders had talked about furthering cooperation against terrorism.
‘I am happy that Sri Lankan police officers have started participating in anti-terrorism courses in India’s premier training institutes. We are also committed to further strengthening the contacts and cooperation between the agencies of the two countries’.
Rajapaksa also said that ‘a part of our discussions centred’ around intelligence and counter-terrorism capacity building. ‘Since our recent experience in April last year (the Easter Sunday terror attacks), we have had to re-think our national security strategies and assistance from India in this regard would be much appreciated,’ he said. Rajapaksa also called for expanding the Indian-assisted housing project form north and east province to rest of Sri Lanka. ‘Doing so will provide significant benefits to many Sri Lankans living in rural parts of the country,’ he added.
Another area of mutual interest to both PM @narendramodi & I were the ongoing economic projects in #lka. Particularly the housing & community-related projects. We discussed the potential to expand the housing project to all parts of the island so that it would benefit many more. pic.twitter.com/r026LkH3VW – Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) February 8, 2020 India has completed the construction of 48,000 houses for internally displaced persons from the Sri Lankan civil war.
There is also ongoing work on the construction of houses for Indian-origin Tamil workers in plantations. There was also discussion on pending joint economic projects, as well as follow-up on India’s earlier offer of line of credit of $400 million and a separate soft loan of $50 million for combatting terrorism.