Understanding with India important for development: Vijitha Herath 

Monday, 12 February 2024 04:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Says NPP did not request to visit India and was instead extended an official invitation by it’s Govt. in December 
  • Claims party’s opposition to privatising state enterprises sans a proper tender process remains and was intimated to Indian counterparts during the visit
  • Stresses NPP is unhesitant in conducting economic and political affairs with any country
  • Says it informed that under an NPP Govt. by adhering to a proper procurement process opportunities for investment will be open to any country 
  • Emphasises that NPP does not alter its political positions based on its relationships with China or India

NPP MP Vijitha Herath 

National People’s Power (NPP) MP Vijitha Herath yesterday said that maintaining an understanding with neighbouring India is important for the development of regional corporations.

“Our neighbouring country, India, holds significant importance in this region for us. This visit is paramount in fostering regional cooperation between Sri Lanka and India. Strengthening relations between our two nations remains a top priority,” he emphasised.

“At a moment when the NPP is celebrating notable political triumphs with the people of our nation, it becomes imperative for the betterment of our populace to cultivate strong, amicable ties with our neighbouring state, India,” he added.

Herath made these remarks during a press conference conducted in Colombo yesterday to update the public on the NPP’s visit to India and its outcomes.

The MP who accompanied NPP’s recent delegation to India also disclosed that the Indian Government extended the invitation to the party as early as December and the delay in acceptance was merely due to the NPP’s packed political schedule. 

The MP acknowledged the numerous comments surrounding the NPP’s visit to India, stressing that they do not dwell on outside opinions but rather accepted the invitation with the sole purpose of serving the interests of the country’s people.

According to Herath, although the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which leads the NPP, strongly opposed the Indo-Lanka Accord decades ago and was dedicated to safeguarding Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, even at the cost of lives, the times today have changed. 

“The political situation today is different. “In the global political power struggle involving China, America, and India, as a nation facing economic challenges, our primary aim must be the reconstruction of our country amidst political instability,” Herath said. 

“We must engage in politics while safeguarding our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Without falling victim to global power dynamics, we are steadfast in our pursuit to advance our nation. We are unhesitant in conducting economic and political affairs with any country,” he asserted.

The MP emphasised that under NPP governance, the party will transparently manage relations with Governments worldwide, all for the advancement of the nation and its people, particularly in terms of economic development. “Throughout our history, we have consistently made decisions to safeguard our territorial integrity, and we stand by that commitment today and in the future. We assure the people of this country that such principles will not waver,” he assured. 

Herath claimed that the party’s opposition to privatising state enterprises sans a proper tender process remains and this was intimated to Indian counterparts during the visit. 

The MP emphasised that they clearly expressed their disagreement with the Sri Lankan Government’s flawed policy of selecting institutions for sale without issuing tenders and presenting cabinet papers regarding the sale of such institutions to specific foreign companies. “It was elucidated that by adhering to a proper procurement process, which includes following the tender procedure, opportunities for international investment will be opened to any country,” he said. 

According to Herath, the NPP is not inclined to accept any deal solely based on discussions with Government officials or private entities from another country. The party’s approach is to discern between what is beneficial and what is detrimental, accepting what is advantageous while discarding what is not. He emphasised that it is the NPP’s position to uphold Sri Lanka’s national security without also compromising the national security of India.

He expressed that the public places trust in the NPP, recognising the party’s dedication to safeguarding Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. He assured that the NPP has not betrayed this trust in the past and is committed to maintaining this integrity in the future.

“We are not a party that alters our political positions based on our relationships with China or India,” he maintained.