COLOMBO: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa here on Saturday at the Indian High Commissioner’s residence. The meeting that lasted half-an-hour took place just before a reception for Modi at which he met the Indian community here.
It is believed that the Modi-Rajapaksa parleys took place at the request of the Indian Prime Minister and is part of Modi’s policy to reach out to all sections of the Sri Lankan polity, including those, which are hostile to India.
Rajapaksa had recently told two foreign journalists that India had engineered his defeat in the January 8 Lankan Presidential election. But he had blamed India’s intelligence agency RAW and the Indian High Commission for it and not Prime Minister Modi himself.
Rajapaksa had refused to meet Indians after his defeat, avoiding even a highly placed team from the BJP.
Political circles told Express that a top official of the BJP advocated to Modi the need to mend fences with Rajapaksa as he might do well in the June parliamentary elections if the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government continues to bungle.
Rajapaksa is also said to be keen on maintaining good relations with Modi as India is a significant factor in Lankan politics.