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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1978

Narendra Modi met former President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Colombo, 12 May, (Asiantribune.com):

Indinan Prime Minister Narendra Mod yesterday,i met former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo on Thursday in apparently a late night unscheduled meeting.

The Indian envoy said that it was a very cordial discussion and that the former President was very happy about the development cooperation which India has been extending to Sri Lanka over the years including at the present.

Former foreign minister Prof. G.L. Peiris was also reportedly present during the meeting, which had occurred following the dinner hosted for the Indian PM by President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s House last night.

Officials including India’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Kumar Doval and Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had participated in the discussion from the prime minister’s side.

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu told reporters, while briefing them about the Prime Minister’s itinerary over the day, that the meeting was held at Rajapaksa’s request.

The meeting comes ten days after a parliamentarian close to Mr. Rajapaksa called for a black flag protest around Mr. Modi's visit. Mr. Rajapaksa has earlier blamed India for his defeat in the January 2015 presidential polls, but in a recent media interview said that he admired Mr. Modi.

"Rajapaksa's talks with Modi was a very cordial discussion and he was happy with India-Lanka cooperation over the years," Indian High Commissioner Taranjith Singh Sandhu told media.

Mahinda Rajapaksa who was President of the country for a decade said he held nothing against Modi's visit.
"The problem will be only if they sign agreements. I understand these have already been signed," he said.

Briefing media on Modi's engagements in Colombo, Sandhu said the prime minsiter will not be signing any agreements with Sri Lanka during the visit.

He said the prime minister has expressed India’s commitment and support to Sri Lanka and India will be a strong development partner for the island nation's growth and prosperity.

Modi, on his second visit to Sri Lanka in two years, is here primarily to participate tomorrow in the International Vesak Day celebrations, the biggest festival of Buddhists.

The two countries were set to sign an agreement to lease out oil tanks to India to jointly operate a strategic oil facility in the eastern port district of Trincomalee.

- Asian Tribune -

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