Monday, Dec 16, 2019 | Last Update : 10:45 AM IST

India ‘satisfied’ with Gotabaya’s Lanka assurance

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 1, 2019, 5:48 am IST
Updated : Dec 1, 2019, 5:48 am IST

The Lines of Credit (LoCs) announced by India are also being seen as an effort to counter the Chinese financial muscle in the island nation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President Ram Nath Kovind looks on during a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: Sondeep Shankar)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President Ram Nath Kovind looks on during a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: Sondeep Shankar)

New Delhi: India is satisfied over the assurances furnished by Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that "India will remain his top priority and that he will not allow any third force to come in between cooperation" of the two countries, sources have indicated. The assurance is being seen as significant, given India's concerns over earlier movement of Chinese submarines in Sri Lankan waters and also the fast increasing Chinese footprint in the island nation. New Delhi also appears relieved by the assurances, due to the perceived earlier proximity of the Rajapaksa brothers (President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa) towards China. PM Modi — after holding extensive talks with President Rajapaksa in the Capital on Friday — had said both countries "should be alert to each other's security concerns and sensitivities". New Delhi also seems quite pleased that President Rajapaksa said his country "will continue to work closely with India to ensure that the Indian Ocean remains a zone of peace".

The Lines of Credit (LoCs) announced by India are also being seen as an effort to counter the Chinese financial muscle in the island nation. PM Modi had on Friday announced a new $400 million Line of Credit (LoC) to Sri Lanka for infrastructure development, a separate "special" $50 million LoC to help Sri Lanka boost its fight against terrorism and also swift activation of an earlier announced $100 million for solar projects in the island nation.

President Rajapaksa's assurances on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue have also come as a relief for New Delhi. After PM Modi expressed confidence that Sri Lanka would fulfil the aspirations of Sri Lankan Tamils for "equality, justice, peace and honour" and take forward the process of "national reconciliation" including implementation of the 13th amendment (for devolution of power to provinces), President Rajapaksa was also understood to have told PM Modi that "he will be President of all Sri Lankans irrespective of ethnicity or religion or voting choices", thereby signalling a "meeting of minds on reconciliation within Sri Lanka".  PM Modi had also said that President Rajapaksa had told him about his vision for "ethnic harmony" in the island nation.  The Sri Lankan President had also apparently conveyed to PM Modi that he would also work for the economic development  of Sri Lanka's northern and eastern provinces that have a significant Tamil population.

In another development that has pleased New Delhi, while agreeing with PM Modi that the "fishermen issue" be discussed in a "constructive and humanitarian way", President Rajapaksa also said his country would release from Sri Lankan custody all the boats of Indian fishermen who had earlier strayed into Sri Lankan waters.

Tags: gotabaya rajapaksa, narendra modi