‘Sinhala Neighbourhood First’ approach unfolds in New Delhi

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 February 2020, 22:20 GMT]
SL Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was not reciprocating Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “confidence” that Colombo would “realize the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace, and respect within a united Sri Lanka.” Both the leaders held a joint media presence in New Delhi on Saturday. Mr Modi said that it would be “necessary to carry forward the process of reconciliation with the implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.” Mr Rajapaksa, who read out a statement after Modi’s speech, was not making any reference to “united” or “13th Amendment”. The same pattern was also witnessed during SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s visit to India in November 2019. It is evident that Mr Modi was making concessions to Colombo in return for its compliance to the maritime security concerns of New Delhi, political observers in Jaffna said.

“Stability, security and prosperity in Sri Lanka are not only in interest of India, but also in the interest of the entire Indian Ocean region and therefore, our close cooperation is valuable for peace and prosperity even in the Indo-Pacific region,” Mr Modi said in his address.

“In line with our Government’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy and ‘Sagar’ doctrine, we attach special priority to relations with Sri Lanka. We welcome the Sri Lankan government’s resolve to work with India for regional security and development,” Mr Modi said.

SAGAR in Hindi means “the ocean”. It is also used as the abbreviation for “Security And Growth for All in the Region”, a notion deployed by New Delhi to draw the neighbouring countries into its strategic ambit since 2016.

Mahinda Rajapaksa will be making religious trips to Kashi Vishwanath Hindu and Sarnath Buddhist temples in Varanasi in the Uttar Pradesh. The SL PM is also scheduled to visit Bodh Gaya in the northeastern state of Bihar and Tirupati in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Two cabinet-rank ministers who have accompanied Mahinda Rajapaksa are Tamil politicians collaborating with the Rajapaksa regime.

SL Community Empowerment and Estate Infrastructure Development Minister and Leader of Ceylon Workers’ Congress, Arumugam Thondaman as well as SL Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister and EPDP paramilitary-cum-political party Leader Douglas Devananda would be joining Mr Rajapaksa’s pilgrimage in India.



Full text of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement:

Your Excellency,
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ayubovan!
Vanakkam!
Namaskar!


First of all, I heartily congratulate my friend Mahinda Rajapaksa for becoming the Prime Minister. Immediately after assuming office he accepted my invitation and chose India for his first foreign tour. I am thankful to him for this. A few days ago, Sri Lanka celebrated its seventieth anniversary of independence. For this, I congratulate Prime Minister Rajapaksa and all the people of Sri Lanka.

Friends,
India and Sri Lanka are neighbors since time immemorial, and also close friends. The history of our relationship has been woven with countless colorful threads like culture, religion, spirituality, art and language. Whether it is security or economy or social progress, our past and our future are connected to each other in every region. Stability, security and prosperity in Sri Lanka are not only in interest of India, but also in the interest of the entire Indian Ocean region and therefore, our close cooperation is valuable for peace and prosperity even in the Indo-Pacific region. In line with our Government’s “Neighborhood First” policy and “Sagar” doctrine, we attach special priority to relations with Sri Lanka. We welcome the Sri Lankan government’s resolve to work with India for regional security and development.

Friends,
Today Prime Minister Rajapaksa and I discussed in detail all aspects of our bilateral relations and international issues of mutual interest. Terrorism is a major danger in our region. We both countries have fought this problem firmly. There were painful and barbaric terrorist attacks on “Easter Day” in Sri Lanka in April last year. These attacks were not only a blow to Sri Lanka, but also to humanity. And so, in our conversation today, we discussed furthering our cooperation against terrorism. I am happy that Sri Lankan police officers have started participating in anti-terrorism courses in India’s premier training institutes. We are also committed to further strengthening the contacts and cooperation between the agencies of the two countries.

Friends,
In today’s conversation we discussed Joint Economic Projects in Sri Lanka, and also on enhancing economic, business, and investment relations. We also discussed increasing our People-to-People connectivity, promoting tourism, and improving connectivity.

The recent direct flight between Chennai and Jaffna is part of our efforts in this direction. This direct flight will increase connectivity options for the Tamil population of the northern region of Sri Lanka and it will also be beneficial for the economic and social development of the region. The good response received to this flight is a matter of happiness for both of us. We also discussed efforts to further enhance and improve our relationship.

Friends,
India has been a trusted partner in Sri Lanka’s development efforts. The new Lines of Credit announced last year will give more strength to our development cooperation. We are happy that the Indian Housing Project for the construction of more than 48,000 houses for internally displaced people in the northern and eastern region of Sri Lanka has been completed. Apart from this, the construction of several thousand houses for Tamil people of Indian origin is also progressing in the up-country region. Prime Minister Rajapaksa and I also discussed the humanitarian issue of fishermen. This theme directly affects the livelihood of the people of both countries. And therefore, we agree to continue Constructive and Humanitarian Approach on this issue.

Friends,
In Sri Lanka, we spoke openly on issues related to reconciliation. I am confident that the Government of Sri Lanka will realize the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace, and respect within a united Sri Lanka. For this, it will be necessary to carry forward the process of reconciliation with the implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

Friends,
I once again warmly welcome Prime Minister Rajapaksa to India. I am confident that his visit will strengthen the friendship and multi-dimensional cooperation of India and Sri Lanka. At the same time, cooperation between the two countries for regional peace and stability will also increase.

Bohoma Sthuti,
Nandri,
Thank you.


Chronology:

 

Latest 15 Reports
05.07.20 23:06   Photo
University students, Shivajilingam brave SL harassment to commemorate fallen Black Tigers
04.07.20 22:28   Photo
Monk commanding Sinhala-Buddhicisation of North-East threatens Tamil villagers in Batticaloa
03.07.20 19:28   Photo
After Naavat-kuzhi, Colombo targets Poonakari for Sinhala colonisation across Jaffna lagoon
02.07.20 22:26  
Colombo imposes restrictions on Tamil valour related symbolism in schools of North
01.07.20 13:22  
New secret unit among four SL military and police squads competing to arrest Tamil youth in North
30.06.20 22:10  
Tamils blocked from accessing properties near SL Navy training base in Champoor, Trincomalee
29.06.20 23:29   Photo
Moragoda advising Gotabaya prompts Sinhala parties to scrap Provincial Councils
28.06.20 22:06  
India privileging BRIC/RIC over Quad ‘discordant’, says former US top diplomat
27.06.20 22:11  
Indo-Pacific expert wants US to seek opportunities in ‘Sri Lanka’
26.06.20 21:24  
Russia steps up influence on New Delhi to uphold “multilateralism” against US “rules-based order”
25.06.20 23:53  
Pompeo talks about US reposturing troops, mentions India, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia
24.06.20 23:36   Photo
Devananda circumvents court order, manipulates Jaffna fishers to allow poachers from South
23.06.20 22:03  
Sinhala encroachment of pastureland continues unabated in Batticaloa
22.06.20 18:17  
SLMC Chairman: Time for joint Tamil-Muslim efforts
21.06.20 23:11   Photo
Ex-councillor: Poverty-stricken Tamils at receiving end of SL military brutality in North
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=39723