During a joint media interaction with his counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is in the island nation for his first overseas visit of the year, underlined India’s backing for Lanka’s reconciliation process and an “inclusive political outlook” that encourages ethnic harmony.
“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 longstanding, as indeed for an inclusive political outlook that encourages ethnic harmony,” he said.
“It is in Sri Lanka’s own interest that the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka are fulfilled. That applies equally to the commitments made by the Sri Lankan government on meaningful devolution, including the 13th Amendment to the Constitution,” Jaishankar added. The progress and prosperity of Sri Lanka will surely be advanced as a consequence, he asserted. His remarks assume significance in the backdrop of moves by the ruling Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) allies to mount a public campaign for abolition of Sri Lanka’s provincial councils system. The SLPP’s Sinhala majority hardliners have been advocating a total abolition of the island’s provincial council system established in 1987.