New Delhi: After discussions with visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Hyderabad House in the Capital on Saturday “openly on issues related to reconciliation”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed confidence that the Sri Lankan Government would “realise the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace, and respect within a united Sri Lanka”.
He added that “for this, it will be necessary to carry forward the process of reconciliation with the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka” that stands for devolution of power to provinces. But interestingly, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister did not refer to either the reconciliation issue or the 13th amendment in his statement before the media. However, Indian Government sources said the Sri Lankan Government has already been maintaining that it stands for all its country's citizens irrespective of ethnicity and that therefore too much should not be read into this omission.
On the issue of Indian fishermen caught fishing while straying into Sri Lankan waters, PM Modi meanwhile said both he and the Sri Lankan PM had agreed to continue a constructive and humanitarian approach on this issue which directly affected livelihood.
While India has built thousands of houses in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka with a huge Tamil population, Mr Rajapaksa interestingly also pitched for enhancement of these housing facilities to other parts of Sri Lanka. Both nations also discussed economic cooperation as well ways to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation.
But it was the reference to the reconciliation issue by PM Modi that was significant. Mr Rajapaksa, during his tenure as Sri Pankan President from 2005-15 was seen as a hardliner by the island nation's Tamils.
Mr Rajapaksa, as President earlier, was in power in 2009 when the Sri Lankan Army crushed the LTTE but the final months of that military campaign earned both widespread praise and bitter criticism for Mr. Rajapaksa who became Prime Minister late last year....