Reuters: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday (05) said war with Pakistan is not an option for India, even as tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours is on the rise.
Strained ties between New Delhi and Islamabad have worsened further since 19 soldiers were killed in an assault in Uri of Indian Kashmir on September 18, an attack New Delhi blames on Islamabad but Pakistan denies.
In a rare public acknowledgement, Indian officials on Thursday (September 29) announced successful “surgical strikes” on suspected militants preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan-ruled Kashmir.
“I don’t think war is an option for anyone and your prime minister has handled it well so far. There has (have) been restraints on all sides so let us see how we can get it moving, whatever we can do. Your prime minister has taken steps to defuse the situation and these are times which (when) you have to show that you have the ability to lead the world or be a leading power. He has shown the restraint that is necessary,” said Wickremesinghe at a news conference in New Delhi.
The Sri Lankan prime minister further urged South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) members to take steps to tackle cross-border militancy.
“I think SAARC has to really now decide on two issues: one is cross-border terrorism, wherever it happens in SAARC countries; and secondly, few areas in which we can work together. If we don’t do it, there is no future for SAARC,” said Wickremesinghe.
Wickremesinghe’s statements come in the wake of the postponement of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad after five countries, including Sri Lanka and India, pulled out quoting a “non-conducive” environment.
Wickremesinghe is on a three-day visit to India to discuss bilateral and regional issues.
The Sri Lankan prime minister is also scheduled to attend the opening plenary of the India Economic Summit on Thursday (October 06) before leaving for Colombo.
PM meets Indian foreign minister and opposition leadership in New Delhi
Reuters: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday (5 October) met Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi.
Wickremesinghe arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday (4 October) for a three-day visit to discuss bilateral and regional issues with the Indian leadership.
“Singapore yesterday, Sri Lanka today! EAM @SushmaSwaraj calls on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe @RW_UNP during his visit to India,” tweeted spokesperson of Indian foreign minister, Vikas Swarup.
The visiting prime minister also met president of India’s opposition Congress party Sonia Gandhi. Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present during the meeting.
Wickremesinghe is scheduled to meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and other dignitaries to discuss issues of mutual interest.
The visit assumes significance as many countries in the region, led by India, have pulled out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in Islamabad scheduled in November after a deadly militant attack on an army camp in Kashmir last month.
Wickremesinghe will also attend the opening plenary of the India Economic Summit on Thursday (6 October) before leaving for Colombo.