India Wednesday called upon Sri Lanka to meet its Tamil minority’s expectation of greater devolution of powers as part of the reconciliation process, even as it committed itself to greater cooperation aimed at boosting the island nation’s post-Covid-19 recovery efforts.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in Sri Lanka for his first overseas visit of the year, spoke about the country’s Tamil population during a media interaction with his counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena.
He reiterated India’s backing for Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process and an “inclusive political outlook” that encourages ethnic harmony.
Acknowledging the challenge of post-Covid recovery, Jaishankar said India will “always be a dependable partner and a reliable friend” that is open to strengthening ties on the basis of “mutual trust, mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual sensitivity”.
“As we promote peace and well-being in the region, India has been strongly committed to the unity, stability and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. Our support for the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka is long-standing, as indeed for an inclusive political outlook that encourages ethnic harmony,” he said.
Gunawardena thanked India for its support to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. “The Indian government’s neighbourhood-first policy made a very positive impact on our health sector and the economy during the critical period [of] unprecedented crisis…,” he said.
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