Mar 04, Nay Pyi Taw: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held bilateral discussions this afternoon on the sidelines of the third BIMSTEC Summit, taking place in Myanmar.
The two leaders, who were in Myanmar to attend the third Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi–Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), held a close-door bilateral discussion on a number of issues of importance to both countries.
BIMSTEC is a regional grouping of seven South and South-east Asian countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
This is the first meeting between the two leaders after the Indian Prime Minister bowing to the pressures from the Tamil political parties in Tamil Nadu skipped the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo last November.
The meeting between Rajapaksa and Singh comes just after the United State-sponsored resolution was tabled at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday. India is expected to vote for the resolution as it did for the two previous resolutions on Sri Lanka tabled at the UNHRC in 2011 and 2012.
According to Indian political observers Prime Minister's meeting with the Sri Lankan President is a balancing diplomatic act since Tamil political parties in Tamil Nadu are vehemently against any interaction with Sri Lanka and Singh is expected to respect the Tamil sentiments, especially in an election year.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)