PROSPERITY OF INDIA DEPENDS
ON STRONG LINKS WITH HER NEIGHBORS SAYS MANMOHAN SINGH WITH RAJAPAKSA
By Walter Jayawardhana
Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh told Sri lankan President Mahinda
Rajapaksa that prosperity of India depends on strong links with her
neighbors and India gave highest importance to her relations with Sri
One cannot envisage a prosperous India without strong links with
her neighbors, and the present SAARC Summit in Colombo provided an opportunity
for such a partnership, said the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan
Singh, in discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential
Secretariat today in Colombo.
The talks between the two leaders took place as part of the 15th SAARC
Summit. Prior to the bilateral discussions the Indian Prime Minister
and the Sri Lankan President had a one-to-one discussion.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who congratulated the Sri Lanka government
for the excellent arrangements for the SAARC Summit, referred to the
highest importance that India gave to her relations with Sri Lanka .
He said the two countries had centuries old ties, and that the prosperity
of the two nations was closely linked. He observed that the discussions
at the SAARCV under the leadership of President Rajapaksa would acquire
President Rajapaksa reciprocated the very warm sentiments expressed
by the Indian leader, and said Sri Lanka valued then economic benefits
that Sri Lanka is deriving from the investments and an industrial engagement
of Indian entrepreneurs.
He also thanked the Indian Government for the development cooperation
to Sri Lanka, including the rehabilitation of the Tsunami affected Southern
Railway, for which a Memorandum of Understanding is due to be signed.
The Sri Lankan President briefed the Indian Prime Minister about the
positive developments in the Eastern Province in the last one year,
such as the holding of the local government polls, the first provincial
council polls with the reward electoral success going to a political
leader from the principal minority in the country, and the launching
of an important development programme, to be implemented in two years,
and costing US $ 2 billion.
President Rajapaksa also reaffirmed the commitment of his administration
to implement comprehensively the provisions of the 13th Amendment to
the Constitution in the Eastern Province , and said that parallel to
this process the APRC is expected to submit recommendations to forge
a further political consensus of solution to the current crisis.
The Sri Lankan President also pointed out that the security operations
in the North were progressing successful with the guiding principle
to the Security Forces to exercise utmost caution against casualties
The two leaders also discussed fisheries incidents in the northern waters
off Sri Lanka , particularly the Palk Strait , and President Rajapaksa
further reiterated the long standing policy of the Sri Lankan Navy to
treat fisherman apprehended in Sri Lankan waters in a humanitarian manner.
At the same time, the Indian authorities were urged to continue to discourage
Indian fishermen from crossing the International Line of Demarcation,
as their presence is used by the LTTE as cover for its activities.
In discussions on economic cooperation between the two countries the
benefits of investment in Sri Lanka by Indian entrepreneurs was underscored.
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