Oct 07, Colombo: India today said that it looks forward to an early resumption of the dialogue process to reach a political settlement in Sri Lanka based on the full implementation of 13th Amendment to the Constitution in a timely manner.
Issuing a media statement following a meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Prof. G.L. Peiris, the visiting External Affairs Minister of India, Salman Khurshid said India is committed to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and ready to offer its assistance to take the process forward.
"It is our hope that the vision and leadership that resulted in an end to armed conflict and holding of elections to the Northern Province, will now be employed to work for genuine reconciliation," Khurshid said.
"We will continue to work with the Government of Sri Lanka, and help in whatever way we can, to take this process forward, in a spirit of partnership and cooperation."
The Indian Minister, who arrived in Colombo this morning on a two-day official visit, held discussions with Minister Peiris this afternoon on all issues of bilateral, regional and international concern and reviewed the progress in various areas, including trade, investment, development cooperation, culture and education.
The two ministers have reviewed the progress made in implementation of the Indian assisted projects for IDPs, particularly the Housing Project, as well as projects relating to the development of railway infrastructure in the North and the South.
They also have discussed the fishermen's issue and agreed on the need to deal with it in a humane manner without resorting to violence under any circumstances.
The two ministers have agreed to encourage fishermen's associations on both sides, which had met in the past and reached some understandings, to meet again to work on resolving the issue.
Minister Khurshid said the India-funded development cooperation projects, including the housing and railway projects are progressing well and are expected to be completed on schedule.
The two sides are to ink 8 agreements related to the Sampur Thermal Power Project and a MoU for Technical Assistance in support of the 10-year National Plan for a Trilingual Sri Lanka later today at the Presidential Secretariat.
With the signing of the agreements, the work on the power plant will commence promptly and will be sped up to complete the project by 2016, Khurshid said.
The visiting Minister said he is hopeful that, through the MoU for implementation of the Trilingual Plan, India will be able to contribute to this important initiative to aid national reconciliation and promote harmony among the various linguistic communities in Sri Lanka.
Khurshid said he was pleased with the significant expansion of bilateral trade in goods which is aimed at reaching US$ 5 billion mark.
Noting India's significant contribution in the area of investments and tourist arrivals, Minister Khurshid pointed out the need to finalize a more comprehensive framework of economic cooperation to sustain the positive momentum in the bilateral trade and economic relations.
The visiting Minister is scheduled to meet the President Mahinda Rajapaksa tomorrow. He will also visit Jaffna to review India-funded development assistance projects and will meet the Governor and the Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council.
He expressed hope that "successful culmination of elections to the Northern Province will usher a new beginning towards a better future for the people in the North."
"India has been consistent in calling for an early political settlement and national reconciliation through meaningful devolution of powers, so to ensure that all citizens of Sri Lanka, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, would lead a life marked by equality, justice, dignity and self-respect," Khurshid said.