The Government yesterday dismissed Tamil Nadu demands for the Indian Central Government to impose economic sanctions on Sri Lanka and insisted that it had full confidence in relations between the two countries.
By Uditha Jayasinghe
Insisting that the Sri Lankan Government only deals with other governments, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella dismissed demands made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, stating, “The Sri Lankan Government only deals with governments of other sovereign nations, not states.”
Addressing the weekly cabinet briefing, the Minister criticised the actions of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, but insisted that diplomatic relations between the two countries remained strong. “There isn’t an iota of doubt about the strength of our relationship,” he emphasised, adding that the Governments had always worked closely to deal with the ethnic issue.
“However, we do not pay heed to statements made by the states of a country. Our dealings are purely with the Central Government,” he added.
A high-powered delegation headed by India’s National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar is due to arrive in Sri Lanka today for high level talks with the Lankan Government. Discussions between the two Governments are expected to touch on the 13th Amendment.
“Sri Lanka has always been of the stance that it is for the 13th Amendment or even a power sharing framework that goes beyond it, the Minister said. Nonetheless he admitted that contentious points, such as devolution of Police powers, were still a concern to the Government.
Trade between the two countries stood at $ 3,267 million in 2008 and has been growing at five to six per cent over the last few years. The Sri Lankan Government is looking at attracting medium- and small-scale companies from India to invest. Total cumulative investments from India were at about $ 347 million till 2008.
Since the end of the war, the Indian Government has been involved in several large-scale infrastructure projects including the Sampur power plant, Kankesanthurai port and 50,000 houses in the north for internally displaced people.