Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2059

Singh, Rajapakse discuss fishermen problem, economic cooperation

By a correspondent in Colombo

Colombo, 02 August, (Asiantribune.com): 'One cannot envisage a prosperous India without strong links with her neighbors and the present SAARC Summit in Colombo provided an opportunity for such a partnership', said the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh Friday in discussions with President Mahinda Rajapakse at the Presidential Secretariat.

The talks between the two leaders took place on the sidelines of the 15th SAARC Summit. Prior to the bilateral discussions they met without aides for a while.The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh meeting with the President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, on the sidelines of 15th SAARC Summit, in Colombo on August 01, 2008. The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh meeting with the President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, on the sidelines of 15th SAARC Summit, in Colombo on August 01, 2008.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred to the highest importance that India gave to her relations with Sri Lanka. He said the two countries had centuries old ties, and that the prosperity of the two nations was closely linked. He observed that the discussions at the SAARC under the leadership of President Rajapakse would acquire historic significance.

President Rajapakse reciprocating to these 'very warm' sentiments said Sri Lanka valued the economic benefits it is deriving from the investments and an industrial engagement of Indian entrepreneurs.

He also thanked the Indian Government for the development cooperation to Sri Lanka, including the rehabilitation of the Tsunami affected Southern Railway, for which a Memorandum of Understanding is due to be signed.

The Sri Lankan President briefed the visiting Indian leader about the positive developments in the Eastern Province in the last one year, such as the holding of the local government polls, the first provincial council polls with the reward electoral success going to a political leader from the principal minority in the country, and the launching of an important development programme, to be implemented in two years, and costing US $ 2 billion.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh being received upon his arrival, at Bandaranaike International Airport, in Colombo on August 01, 2008. The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh being received upon his arrival, at Bandaranaike International Airport, in Colombo on August 01, 2008.

President Rajapakse also reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to implement comprehensively the provisions of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in the Eastern Province, and said that parallel to this process the APRC is expected to submit recommendations to forge a further political consensus of solution to the current crisis.

About the security operations in the North, he said these were progressing successfully and the operation is guided by the principle that the Security Forces exercise utmost caution against casualties among civilians.

The two leaders discussed fisheries incidents in the northern waters off Sri Lanka, particularly the Palk Strait, and President Rajapakse reiterated the long standing policy of the Sri Lankan Navy to treat fisherman apprehended in Sri Lankan waters in a humanitarian manner. At the same time, the Indian authorities were urged to continue to discourage Indian fishermen from crossing the International Line of Demarcation, as their presence is used by the LTTE as cover for its activities.

In discussions on economic cooperation between the two countries the benefits of investment in Sri Lanka by Indian entrepreneurs was underscored.The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh being welcomed by the school children at Bandaranaike International Airport, on his arrival to attend the 15th SAARC Summit, in Colombo on August 01, 2008. The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh being welcomed by the school children at Bandaranaike International Airport, on his arrival to attend the 15th SAARC Summit, in Colombo on August 01, 2008.

The Sri Lankan delegation comprised Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Export and International Trade Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Transport Dullas Alahapperuma Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P. B. Jayasundara, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Romesh Jayasinghe – High Commissioner to India, Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath, Additional Secretary to the Foreign Ministry Prasad Kariyawasam and Coordinating Secretary to the President Sajin Vas Gunawardena.

The India delegation headed by the Prime Minister comprised, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, National Security Adviser M. M. K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Alok Prasad, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister T. K. A. Nair, Joint Secretary (External Publicity) Navjet Sarna, Joint Secretary, Prime Minister's Office Pankaj Sarna, Joint Secretary (BSM) T. S. Tirumurti and Director in the Prime Minister's Office Rudrandra Tandon.

-Asian Tribune-

Share this


.