Colombo, September 23 (Counterpoint): The Indian Foreign Minister Dr.S.Jaishankar has told his Sri Lankan counterpart, Prof.G.L.Peiris, that the completion of Indian projects in Sri Lanka will give New Delhi more confidence about moving the bilateral relations forward.
The two leaders had met on the sidelines of the 76 th.Session of the General Assembly in New York.
The Indian Foreign Minister emphasized the need for a practical conclusion of the number of projects pending implementation, indicating that it would give more confidence to New Delhi to move forward in enhancing relations.
Both ministers agreed on the need to conclude pending agreements to fast-track relations between the two countries.
Jaishankar indicated the need for a fair and just resolution of residual issues in the aftermath of the ethnic issues is in the interest of both countries. However, the Indian Foreign Minister indicated that Indo-Lankan relations should not be limited to a single issue
Jaishankar confirmed that India is willing to work with Sri Lanka in many different ways, including enhancing people to people contacts. He also highlighted the need to engage with all stakeholders, including different political parties.
Lankan Foreign Minister Prof. Peiris briefed the Indian Foreign Minister on the situation with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic and the successful measures being implemented by the Government of Sri Lanka to control the spread of the virus.
Peiris spoke about the “pragmatic and tangible” action taken by the government to resolve residual matters after the end of the conflict in May 2009, citing the fact that the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry and Justice Ministry were working collaboratively to address key issues, such as revisiting the Prevention of Terrorism Act, releasing of LTTE prisoners, and empowering independent institutions such as the Office of Missing Persons, Office for Reparations, Office of National Unity and Reconciliation, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the SDG Council.
The Lankan Minister indicated that substantial progress had been made on many fronts and that efforts were continuing. Peiris further said that there is strong political will to move forward in many different areas of bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.
The Foreign Minister emphasized that Sri Lanka cannot accept any external mechanisms active on the ground, when robust domestic mechanisms are vigorously moving forward, stating that the nation was greatly encouraged by many countries standing firmly with the principled position taken by Sri Lanka that resolutions against countries cannot work without the consent of those countries.
Both ministers agreed that bilateral relations between the two countries are of critical importance.