EXTERNAL AFFAIR MINISTER VISIT TO SRI LANKA.
Recently external affairs minister Sushma swaraj visited Sri Lanka to attend 9th session of joint commission to discuss all important issues between 2 nations. A comprehensive review of relations and couple of high level meetings was held between officials of both the countries.
A list of agreements was made during the visit; important among them are 500 mw thermal power plants and a proposal to establish special economic zones. Trade investment small projects are on a positive side between two nations. It has to be pointed that Sri Lanka is the 2 largest trading partner of India among SAARC countries and India is the 4 largest trading partners to Sri Lanka
The relations between India and Sri Lanka have seen a dramatic turn around after changes at political establishments happened in both countries. India’s “Neighbour’s first policy” has made an important mark in defining the relations between the countries.
Defence cooperation between India and Sri Lanka are covered extensively. Both the countries are involved in training sector, strategic dialogue sector, supply of defence equipment, now the co operation has been also extended to counterterrorism to fight radicalisation of youth and other extremist elements.
On the issue of China building port in Sri Lanka. It is necessary to view the construction on a larger perspective, since it is a new infrastructure facility that can be used for productive purposes. But on the defence front, it is imperative for both the countries to have a balanced foreign policy and Sri Lanka has also reiterated after its recent elections that India is its immediate and important neighbour and that it is vigilant about its action.
Regarding fisher man issue, it is the most outstanding issue that is yet to be resolved. It is necessary to solve this issue involving all the stake holders especially the state of Tamil Nadu.
On the question of granting of autonomy to Northern Province the new government in Sri Lanka has taken a positive and constructive view on Tamil question, so much so that the government is involved in framing a new constitution. The new government is very keen on reconstruction, devolution of power, grant of autonomy, address minority issue, releasing of land held by military, human rights violations of people affected by war. India is actively involved in the process to ensure that nobody is left behind in this process In addition to this the Tamil community is also working very closely with the Sri Lankan government to make the process easy and reliable.
India is actively involved in reconstruction process in Sri Lanka and has given a helping hand by constructing 50000 houses in Northern provinces and also by establishing health centres, Schools, in the region. Given the historical connection between two nations the focus now is promoting all inclusive society in Sri Lanka especially in Northern Province.
It is necessary to Encourage government more than what they were doing now by involving larger civil society, media, for the welfare of the people of Sri Lanka. So that all the outstanding issues are addressed effectively.