The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said that the Indian government is ready to work very closely with the new government in Sri Lanka and expressed hope that it will fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil community living in the island nation.
“India is ready to closely work with the newly formed government in Sri Lanka and deepening our age-old relationship with the country. Our relationship with Sri Lanka or any other country is not dependent on a third country. It is entirely independent of any other factor,” MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a weekly briefing.
The Spokesperson noted that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Colombo as a special envoy of the Prime Minister a few days ago to convey his wishes and greetings to the newly-elected President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The EAM delivered the Letter of Congratulations and extended an invitation to the President of Sri Lanka to visit India. “You are all aware that the President of Sri Lanka has accepted the invitation of the PM to visit India and he will be on a state visit to India on November 29-30 later this month,” Kumar added.
During his meeting with Gotabaya, the spokesperson stated further that the first part of the discussion was of course focused on extending the bilateral relationship, adding that Jaishankar also conveyed to the President about India’s expectations that the Sri Lankan government will take forward the process of national reconciliation to arrive at a solution that meets the aspirations of the Tamil community for equality, justice, peace and dignity.
On his part, Gotabaya in a statement reaffirmed that he will be the President of all Sri Lankans irrespective of their race or religious identities and without creating a distinction on whether they voted for him or not, he said.
Gotabaya’s brother Mahinda Rajapaksa took oath as Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister earlier today, two days after he was elected President, cementing the powerful Rajapaksa grip on political power in the country.
Mahinda had served as president of the country from 2005 to 2015. His accession to power had come after Ranil Wickremesinghe announced his resignation from the prime ministerial post, paving a way for a caretaker cabinet until the general elections which can be held in March 2020.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today extended wishes to Mahinda over his appointment as the new prime minister, to which the latter replied saying, “Thank you Prime Minister @narendramodi. Let us continue to promote our shared partnership for peace and prosperity for both our countries and the region.
(With Agency Inputs)