Colombo, 16 June 2016,PTI – New era has started between India and Sri Lanka, under Maithripala Sirisena after taking charge of Sri Lankan Presidency, said Y. K. Sinha, Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. Bilateral relationship between both the countries has developed prominently during President Sirisena’s tenure, compared to Mahinda Rajapaksha. Also Sri Lanka’s security is very important from India’s point of view, said Sinha.
In Mahinda Rajapaksha’s tenure Sri Lanka’s policies were more tilted towards China. During the period, China invested in heavily in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka also allowed Chinese warships and submarines to anchor, even when India expressed its opposition. With this background, it is been highlighted that in the last two years, situation has changed under Sirisena’s presidency.
Sirisena defeated Mahinda Rajapaksha in Jan-2015 and took charge as the President. Following this bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka improved drastically, said Sinha. After becoming the President, Sirisena chose India for his first foreign visit. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka within two months of Sirisena taking charge. Modi is the first Prime Minister from India who visited Sri Lanka in the last 24 years. Lanka’s President Visited India twice in past two years. Even Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wikremesinghe visited India. This proves that high level talks are going on at a remarkable pace, is what Sinha pointed out.
After mentioning Free Trade Agreement in two countries, Civil Nuclear Energy agreement, India is Sri Lanka’s biggest partner in defense related training, told Sinha. Additionally, major steps were taken by President Sirisena to increase trust between India and Lanka. Claim on land of Tamil’s in Sri Lanka was withdrawn is one of the step included in this.
Travelling sanctions on North Sri Lanka were also removed. With this troops deployment in region was called off. Deploying of soldiers also got reduced as mentioned by Sinha. There is no clear sea border between both the countries, so to solve this issue negotiations are going on, is what Sinha said.