New Delhi: India has reiterated calls for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, including the devolution of powers in Sri Lanka. This has been conveyed by Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla on Tuesday when he called on Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo. .
The Foreign Secretary reiterated "India’s position on complete implementation of the provisions under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, including devolution of powers and the holding of Provincial Council elections at the earliest", a statement from the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.
"During his meeting with the President on October 05, 2021, Foreign Secretary underscored the importance India attaches to expeditiously taking forward mutually beneficial projects, including proposals to enhance air and sea connectivity between India and Sri Lanka. Foreign Secretary thanked President for his guidance and close cooperation in the defence and security sphere," the statement said.
Foreign Secretary held meetings with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation led by Member of Parliament and Leader of TNA, R. Sampanthan; Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) delegation led by Member of Parliament Mano Ganesan; and Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) delegation led by State Minister for Estate Housing and Community Infrastructure Jeevan Thondaman.
Mr Shringla reiterated India's longstanding support for the reconciliation that addresses aspirations of the Tamil community for equality, justice, peace and dignity within the united Sri Lanka and in accordance with the 13th Amendment.
During the four-day visit that concluded on Tuesday, Mr Shringla also called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Finance, Basil Rajapaksa and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris; held a series of meetings and also inaugurated education and housing projects.
Sri Lanka occupies a central place in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, an MEA statement has said prior to Mr Shringla's visit that had begun on October 2.
In his meeting with the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa held on Oct 4, Foreign Secretary had mentioned that India-Sri Lanka relations are underpinned by vibrant people-to-people ties which would be further strengthened with signing of the Inter-Governmental MoU for the USD 15 million Buddhism grant.
Recalling India’s strong cultural & civilizational links with Jaffna, the Foreign Secretary informed that India would extend support to the Government of Sri Lanka for the maintenance of the Jaffna Cultural Centre built with Indian grant assistance.
The Foreign Secretary further mentioned that the Government of India looked forward to welcoming the inaugural flight from Sri Lanka to Kushinagar which would further bolster cultural links between the two countries.