Mixed Feelings in Sri Lanka on Modi Visit

Published: 15th March 2015 01:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2015 01:56 PM   |  A+A-


COLOMBO: Feelings in Sri Lanka after the two-day visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are mixed, both among the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority.

To look at the brighter side first, Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena described the visit as a “blessing” and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe lauded Modi’s speech in parliament as a clarion call to take Lanka-India relations to new heights. Both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe broke protocol in interacting with Modi. While the President journeyed to Anuradhapura to play host to Modi at the Mahabodhi tree, the Lankan Prime Minister received Modi and saw him off at the airport, when this task should normally be done by the Minister-in-Waiting, Lakshman Kiriella.

When Modi was in Jaffna, the Tamils who had gathered to hear him, took to him spontaneously, cheering him lustily whenever he offered to help them face the ravages of the 30 year war and assured them that India will never let them down. Some beneficiaries of the Indian housing scheme shed tears of joy.

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran said that he was “blessed” to give the welcome address  and praised Modi for advocating “cooperative federalism” as a model for Sri Lanka.

“Modi has implanted the idea of cooperative federalism and devolution in the minds of Lankan leaders,” the CM said.

         >>Read: Modi Invites Indian Origin Tamils for Meeting in Delhi 

The Sunday Island described Modi’s visit as a “resounding success.” The Tamil daily Thinakkural  said that Tamil leaders should heed his advice to workout new strategies to deal with the new and friendlier Sirisena-Wickremesinghe regime. 

Flip Side

On the downside, Sunday Times criticized Modi’s promotion of the system of devolution contained in the 13 constitutional Amendment (13A) and his appeal to go beyond it. The paper said that the Provincial Councils set up under 13A are a drain on the exchequer. It also criticized Modi’s refusal to take action to stop poaching by Indian fishermen. The Tamil daily Uthayan said that Modi’s words were empty as he had nothing concrete to offer to the Tamils on devolution.

“When I asked Modi if India would help ensure greater devolution, he only said that he could not believe I was 75 !” joked Wigneswaran, the Northern Province CM.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp