Menon restated India’s support for war – Sri Lanka
[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 January 2009, 16:46 GMT]
Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, who met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse Friday “reaffirmed India’s cooperation with Sri Lanka in the attempts to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka and the region, and observed that at present the relations between India and Sri Lanka have never been so close, so warm and so deep,” the Colombo government said in a statement. President Rajapakse met Mr. Menon in Kandy, the ancient seat of Sinhala power, rather than in Colombo.
Basil Rajapaksa with Shivshankar Menon
A statement by Rajapaksa’s office said 90-minute meeting had covered a “wide area of relations between the two countries.”
Rajapaksa had briefed Menon on current developments in Sri Lanka “including the military victories being achieved by the Sri Lankan security forces against the LTTE” the statement said.
“President Rajapaksa reiterated that the goal of his government was to find a political solution to the problem of ethnic relations in Sri Lanka, and that he would deal with terrorism firmly and militarily, as the situation required,” it said.
India’s relations with Sri Lanka have reached “an unprecedented level of depth and quality today,” Mr. Menon told Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, the state-owned Daily News said Saturday.
Mr. Menon had observed that it is during difficult times that the true quality of a friendship becomes most evident, and that the Indo-Lanka relationship is one such friendship that has effectively withstood the test of time and adversity, the paper added.
Secretary Menon extended his appreciation of the proactive role played by Sri Lanka both multilaterally and in the regional context in combating terrorism, and extended the unstinted support of the Indian government in this exercise, it added.
The Indian High Commission in Colombo is yet to make a statement on Menon’s meeting with Rajapaksa, IANS reported.
Coinciding with Menon’s visit, India Friday announced the second instalment of humanitarian assistance amounting to Sri Lankan rupees 40 million for the war-affected Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka’s north, IANS reported.
Menon Friday handed over a token consignment of medicines to senior presidential adviser Basil Rajapaksa as part of the humanitarian assistance by India to the people stranded in the northern battle zone, IANS also said.