No future for SAARC if it can’t work together, decide on terror: Sri Lanka

He said India has to see how to move forward in dealing with cross-border terror and make “this region relevant”.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: October 6, 2016 4:09 am
Saarc, Saarc summit, Sri Lanka Saarc, Ranil Wickremesinghe, SAARC Sri Lanka, India SAARC Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe and his wife Maithree, at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

Days after his country joined other neighbours in India’s boycott of the SAARC summit in Islamabad, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, while endorsing New Delhi’s concerns on cross-border terror, Wednesday said it is a “core issue” on the SAARC table and will not end even if the regional club falls apart.

He said India has to see how to move forward in dealing with cross-border terror and make “this region relevant” since nothing has moved in SAARC in the last few years due to friction between India and Pakistan. After his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Wickremesinghe said, “I must compliment Prime Minister Modi for the approach that he has taken… my take is, which we agreed with Prime Minister Modi, let us end cross-border terrorism. Let us make this region relevant.”

Asked whether Sri Lanka supported India’s surgical strikes against terror launch pads along the Line of Control with Pakistan, he said, “I can’t tell you what I spoke with Prime Minister Modi.” “Cross-border terrorism is on the table. SAARC has to look at it and discuss what has happened (postponement of the summit in Islamabad). How are we going to handle it? SAARC has to decide on two issues — cross-border terrorism and areas in which we can work together. If we don’t do it, there is no future for SAARC,” he said.

He expressed hope that the current predicament will be an “eye-opener” to rethink and reconsider issues of peace and security in the region.

Saarc, Saarc summit, Sri Lanka Saarc, Ranil Wickremesinghe, SAARC Sri Lanka, India SAARC Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. (source: AP)

 

On the slide in ties between India and Pakistan after the Uri attack, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister said, “I don’t think war is an option for anyone. I have seen war. I have seen terrorism. I have seen what terrorism has done in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan.”

Asked about the delay in Sri Lanka’s decision to pull out of the SAARC summit, he said that his country’s Foreign Minister was travelling and they couldn’t have taken a decision without consulting him, since they have to answer to parliament.’

“(Sri Lankan) President spoke to Prime Minister Modi when the (Uri) attack took place and expressed his support,” he said. On the issue of fishermen, Wickremesinghe said, “Please come to Jaffna and see the suffering of our fishermen. Our Tamil fishermen raised the same concerns. The fishermen associations of both sides will meet in November.”

On his country’s relations with China, he said it is “economic, not a military one”. “By the time we took over, China had already given loans for the Hambantota harbour and the airport, nothing more. With India, we are doing a lot more — infrastructure projects, road projects, military cooperation. We have relations militarily, just like India does with China, but China had no military presence in projects such as Hambantota,” he said.

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  1. M
    MyTake
    Oct 6, 2016 at 1:09 am
    One way to address terror issue in the subcontinent is to raise an anerror specialist group from the willing countries and take on terrorism from a regional perspective.
    Reply
    1. J
      John
      Oct 5, 2016 at 11:25 pm
      Does Srilanka want us to commit GENOCIDE like they did of Tamils? Is that the solution?
      Reply
      1. D
        DD
        Oct 5, 2016 at 5:52 pm
        stan will be divided into 4 pieces. insha allah. allah ki yahi marzi hai hai.. Ameen..
        Reply
        1. D
          DD
          Oct 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm
          stan will be divided into 4 pieces.lt;br/gt;insha allah.lt;br/gt;allah ki yahi marzi hai hai..lt;br/gt;Ameen..
          Reply
          1. S
            Sankaran Krishnan
            Oct 6, 2016 at 4:04 am
            As far as PM Modi is concerned he had gone out of the way to invite SAARC leaders for his Oath taking ceremony in May 2014 after winning the elections and reciprocated his visit to stan but what we got was Pathankot, Uri attacks etc., and also restrained to take tough action against the terror Nation whereas stan exploited it as weakness and indulged through Terror attacks and thus hiding behind Militants and also allowed their Territory for Terror groups to function. Either stan has to change its atude and remove terror camps from the stani soil and if not let all the Nations in SAARC eliminate stan from the group and focus on developing the Region in all aspects as is being done all these years !!!
            Reply
            1. A
              Ashok Mazumdar
              Oct 6, 2016 at 3:18 am
              It is Past Now.
              Reply
              1. H
                Hari
                Oct 5, 2016 at 4:49 pm
                Nawaz Sharif is enemy of 20 crore people of stan and 25 crore Muslim potion of India which is eye opener for Indian Muslims. Sharif is talking of nuclear war on Burhan wani with India and is not bothering about fate of w stani and Indian Muslim's potion who will be wiped out if nuclear attack is launched by arrogant stani politicians and Army Generals. stani corrupt and greedy politicians and military Generals are surviving on war hype with India since last 69 years. Nawaz Sharif and his military Generals should stop looting public money as revealed in their medias and Imran Khan time to time. These people are real enemy of stan who should be hanged. Only then poverty and backwardness of stan can be removed. This is main reason of constant tension maintained at borders and threatening India of nuclear attacks to kill their citizens in nuclear attacks by stani rulers to conceal their misdeeds who will fled from stan before nuclear attack is launched on India.. There is big conspiracy hatched by stani rulers at the cost of people. This fact must be seriously considered by stani people and ask their rulers to stop such subversive terrorist's attack on INDIA to ease tension on borders so that people of both sides can live in peace and harmony.
                Reply
                1. V
                  Vihari Naidu
                  Oct 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm
                  Create a new regional organization without stan....
                  Reply
                  1. V
                    Vedic_Citizen
                    Oct 5, 2016 at 10:46 pm
                    It is time to dismantle irrelevant organizations like NAM and SAARC
                    Reply
                    1. Y
                      yousef
                      Oct 7, 2016 at 9:44 am
                      SAARC can proceed without PAK. When PAK become stable and less volatile, it can be admitted later.
                      Reply
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