President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday held meetings with the Indian President and the Prime Minister and discussed key issues of mutual interest to the two nations.
President Rajapaksa, who is in India on a three-day official visit, met the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss bilateral issues, including fishermen issue and a speedy solution to the ethnic issue.
The President who met Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapathi Bhavan discussed further enhancing of Indo-Lanka ties.
Indian president noted Sri Lanka's rapid economic growth, especially the massive development activities taking place in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
De-mining 90 percent of vulnerable lands in war hit areas and completing resettlement process successfully were major achievements of the island nation, the Indian president noted.
In the backdrop of the recent attacks against Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu, President Rajapaksa noted that such unfortunate incidents should not be allowed to harm age-old ties between the two countries.
Indian Prime Minister
During President Rajapaksa's discussions with the Indian Prime Minister, the Indian leader has raised the issues of devolution of powers to the minority Tamils and the Tamil Nadu fishermen.
President Rajapaksa said the Sri Lankan government is committed to democracy and apprised Dr. Singh of recent elections in three Provinces, which were held successfully and had a large voter turnout.
The President said the process of democracy will be strengthened and elections will be held in the Northern Province next year.
He also said recommendations by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission are already been implemented according to a National Action Plan that had been made public.
President Rajapaksa informed the Indian PM of the many measures taken to rehabilitate surrendered ex- LTTE cadres and to resettle remaining displaced Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Two leaders have also discussed in depth the fishermen issue and agreed that it would be best for fishermen's associations from both countries to meet and discuss these issues further.
The President has appreciated the Indian government's help to expedite the Sri Lanka's development initiative.
Both the leaders also took note of the momentum of economic ties and assessed the growth of commercial relations positively. President Rajapaksa also thanked the Indian Prime for the Indian government's generous gesture in sending the sacred Kapilavastu relics to Lanka. He said that more than three million devotees were able to pay their respects to the relics and that it signified the strong cultural ties between the two nations.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L Peiris, Parliamentarian Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Karunathilaka Amunugama and Sri Lankan high commissioner in India Prasad Kariyawasam were also present at the occasion.