'India will take measures to ensure safety of Lankans'

India today assured that it willtake all measures to ensure safety and security of Sri Lankansin the country, saying the Centre was in "close consultation"with the concerned state governments regarding this.

The assurance came in the wake of the travel advisoryissued by Sri Lanka asking its citizen not to visit Tamil Naduuntil further notice in the wake of "increasing number ofinstances of intimidation" of Sri Lankans there.

"I wish to convey here that the Government of India, inclose consultation with the concerned state governments, hastaken and will continue to take all measures to ensure thesafety, security and well-being of Sri Lankan dignitaries andvisitors to India, including to Tamil Nadu," an officialspokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

He was responding to a query about the advisory by SriLanka.

The spokesperson also said, "In certain instances, it hasbeen noticed that important visits have taken place withoutprior intimation to the concerned authorities."

Emphasising that people-to-people contacts are anintegral part of the close historical, cultural, ethnic andcivilisational ties between India and Sri Lanka, he said, "OurHigh Commission in Colombo issued visas to nearly 200,000 SriLankan nationals to visit India last year, while approximately175,000 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2011.

"It is this perspective that guides all our actions onsuch matters."

The Lankan travel advisory says, "the government of SriLanka regrets the increasing number of instances ofintimidation of its nationals visiting Tamil Nadu for thepurposes of tourism, religious pilgrimages, sporting andcultural activities and professional training."

The government here is constrained to request Sri Lankannationals in the interest of their security to desist fromundertaking visits to Tamil Nadu until further notice, itsaid.

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