NEW DELHI: With an eye on China, India continued to push for deeper and more “closely aligned” security and defence ties on the first visit of newly-elected Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed confidence that Sri Lankan Tamils will live in equality and dignity in “united Sri Lanka”.
On his first foreign visit after parliamentary polls, Wickremesinghe held detailed delegation-level discussions, followed by one-on-one talks with Modi at Hyderabad House on Tuesday morning.
In his statement, Modi said, “I am confident that with the wisdom and will of the leadership in Sri Lanka and the support of the people, the nation will achieve genuine reconciliation and development, so that all Lankans, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, can live a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka,” said Modi.
In his remarks, Wickremesinghe said he hoped for a “favourable outcome which will finally lead to settlement related to human rights and reconciliation where all Sri Lankans are treated equally”. He added that they were “all looking at how devolution and power-sharing takes place within the constitution, an unitary state — and there is still scope for much more to be done”.
Both leaders addressed the fishermen issue. While Modi called it an “issue that affects livelihoods”, both nations agreed that fishermen’s associations should continue with their efforts to find a solution. Wickremesinghe added that such talks should be completed in a “time-bound manner”. More: P11