The Indo-Sri Lanka joint study group, set up under a joint initiative of the Manipal Global Education (MaGE) of India and the Pathfinder Foundation of Sri Lanka, has presented its recommendations to the Governments of India and Sri Lanka.
The joint study group was conceived as a discreet and informal dialogue process to jointly explore ways of strengthening the bilateral relationship, between the two neighbours with a view to generating innovative recommendations and complementing official efforts to this end.
The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is a multi-faceted one and has tremendous scope for significant expansion and rapid improvement. The report sets out some of the ways in which this potential can be realised.
It recognises that a speedy reconciliation process would have a salutary impact on further strengthening bilateral relations.
In this regard, the report emphasises the importance of both Governments repositioning themselves in relation to the post LTTE realities in a pragmatic and forward looking manner. The report recommends a structured, systematic and continuous dialogue, based on mutual respect and sovereign equality between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka, so as to deal with issues that arise from time to time and remove any potential irritants.
It also proposes preparing a road-map for enhancing economic relations over the next two decades. It calls on the latter to place a special emphasis on the reconstruction and development efforts in northern Sri Lanka. The report recommends intensified interaction in diverse fields, including education, culture, fine arts, sports and media. It calls for the effective and expeditious implementation of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), in particular those relating to post-conflict reconciliation. It also calls for the establishment of a joint mechanism for the management of fisheries and other marine resources in the Palk Bay.
The study group calls upon the two Governments to pay urgent attention to implementing the recommendations contained in the report.
The study group presented its report to the national security adviser and the foreign secretary on the Indian side, and secretary to the President on the Sri Lankan side.