Saturday, 6 July 2013 00:00
India yesterday emphasised to Sri Lanka the need to fully implement the constitutional provision dealing with devolution of powers to provinces without dilution and to go beyond it to ensure meaningful development there, the Economic Times of India reported yesterday.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid conveyed India's views to visiting Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, who informed Khurshid about the announcement on the conduct of elections.
Expressing his appreciation for the announcement, Khurshid also "emphasized on the need to fully implement the provisions of 13th Amendment (13A) and to go beyond it so as to ensure meaningful development of Sri Lanka. He urged Minister Rajapaksa not to do anything to dilute the provisions of the 13th Amendment," official sources told Indian media.
On his part, the Lankan Minister expressed his appreciation for the vast number of projects that are being undertaken by India especially in the Northern and Eastern provinces, the report said.
"He said that there was great appreciation amongst the people of Sri Lanka for the variety of projects being undertaken, especially the housing project which was proceeding extremely well," the sources said.
Concerned over reports of Sri Lanka considering removal of land and police powers prior to the northern elections, Khurshid had spoken to his Lankan counterpart G L Peiris recently and underlined the need to leave the 13A unchanged, urging Colombo not to take any step contrary to its own commitments relating to the Amendment.
Apart from Khurshid, Rajapaksa held meetings with the National Security Advisor and the Foreign Secretary.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka's External Affairs Ministry said in a statement Minister Basil Rajapaksa who was on a day’s visit to New Delhi met the Minister of External Affairs of India, Salman Khurshid on 5 July.
The two ministers discussed a range of issues of bilateral relevance and reiterated their commitment to strengthening the deep and abiding friendship between India and Sri Lanka.
Minister Khurshid welcomed the proclamation made by the President of Sri Lanka on 5 July to the Commissioner of Elections to hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council.
Minister Basil Rajapaksa thanked the Government and the people of India for the consistent support extended to the people of Sri Lanka, especially in the Northern Province and expressed appreciation for the assistance provided in resettlement of displaced persons, demining as well as development assistance which includes fifty-thousand houses, rehabilitation of the Kankasanthurai Port and restoration of the northern railway line. The Minister also thanked the Government of India for the resolute support extended for demilitarisation, development and democratisation of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka which has enabled the ushering of stability in the Province.
The External Affairs Minister expressed appreciation of the efforts taken by the Government of Sri Lanka in reconstruction, resettlement, and infrastructure development as well as the steps taken to improve the livelihoods of the people in the Northern Province including rapid strides made in the agriculture sector.
Minister Khurshid stressed the importance of all political parties in Sri Lanka being represented in the Parliamentary Select Committee which has as its objective the resolution of issues relating to constitutional reform and expressed hope that all parties would join the process.
Emphasising the spirit of friendship that underpins India-Sri Lanka relations, Minister Khurshid reiterated India’s support for Sri Lanka in all spheres and the importance of working together closely through regular consultations.
The Minister of External Affairs of India stated that he looks forward to visiting Sri Lanka at an early date.