Foreign Ministry bypassed as top Indian officials hold talks in Colombo with President and others … top most bureaucrats – National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh ..
The former Sri Lankan President says he is ready to put past ‘misunderstandings’ with India behind him, and could lead his party in the 2019 elections
The decision on whether to release those convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE is an “internal matter” for India to decide, said former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, he indicated that he might have taken a “different line” from the Tamil Nadu government’s resolution that recommended their release to the Governor.
“I have no view on this. It is up to the government; it is an internal matter for India,” said Mr. Rajapaksa in an interview to The Hindu. “If this was in Sri Lanka, we would have taken a different line,” he added.
Mr. Rajapaksa is in Delhi to deliver a public lecture on Wednesday on “India-Sri Lanka relations: the way ahead”. Speaking to The Hindu, the former President, who says he is “100%” confident his party will come to power in 2019, proposed a new mechanism for India and Sri Lanka to resolve all issues, especially economic issues. The mechanism would mirror the “Troika” formed in 2008-2009 of three Indian officials — National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh — and three Sri Lankan officials — Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa and Permanent Secretary Lalith Weeratunga — to coordinate India-Sri Lanka ties during the war against the LTTE. in 2008-2009.
Mr. Rajapaksa also denied the charge that he set off incurred Sri Lanka’s debt trap by bringing Chinese companies into the Hambantota port project, saying that the situation had only been “messed up” by the present government.