India, Sri Lanka form joint defence panel - report

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 September 2007, 18:15 GMT]
India and Sri Lanka have formed a high-level, joint defence panel following a meeting in New Delhi between top officials of the two countries on September 3 and 4, the Hindustan Times reported Wednesday quoting a release from the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat.

The members of the committee are: Secretary to the Sri Lankan President; Lalith Weeratunga; Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa; Senior Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa; Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon; Defence Secretary Vijay Singh; and the National Security Advisor, MK Narayanan.

The two sides had held "fruitful discussions" on the measures to combat terrorism and on ways of resolving the ethnic conflict in the island through devolution of power, the paper reported.

The Sri Lankan officials briefed the Indian side on current developments in the Eastern districts, and the on-going "humanitarian operations" in the North of the island, the release said.

The Sri Lankan officials say the Eastern districts have been pacified and rid of the LTTE but military operations are taking place in Mannar in North Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan side explained the steps that had been taken to "expedite" the work of the All Party Representative Conference (APRC) which had been charged with the responsibility of finding a solution to the ethnic conflict in the island.

The Indian side reiterated New Delhi's commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and " expressed the hope that a solution will be found to the just grievances of the Sri Lankan Tamils through devolution of power."

 

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