Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured Sri Lanka of his country’s ‘unwavering support’ and said India wishes Sri Lanka every success.
Speaking at a joint media briefing at Hyderabad House in New Delhi with visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Modi further said 2015 was a ‘historic year’ for India-Sri Lanka relations. He recalled that prior to Wickremesinghe’s visit, India had the honor of hosting President Maithripala Sirisena on his maiden visit abroad in February while he also visited Sri Lanka in March.
“Sri Lanka has voted twice this year for change, reforms, reconciliation and progress. There can be no stronger statement of Sri Lanka’s democratic tradition. There can be no clearer sign of Sri Lanka’s march towards a peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous future. As a close neighbour and friend, we wish Sri Lanka every success; rejoice in your progress; and, assure you of India’s unwavering support. So, we are pleased that the Government of Sri Lanka has taken a number of significant steps in recent times. The leadership has shown remarkable political unity, at a time of great hope,” he stressed.
The Indian Prime Minister added he was confident that with the wisdom and will of the leadership in Sri Lanka and the support of the people, Sri Lanka will achieve genuine reconciliation and development, so that all Sri Lankans, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, can live a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka.
Speaking on the fishermen issue, Modi revealed he discussed the matter with Premier Wickremesinghe and they both agreed that fishermen’s associations on both sides should continue their efforts to find a solution. “I conveyed to him that this should be seen as a humanitarian issue that affects livelihoods. I informed him of the steps we are taking to encourage Indian fishermen to take up deep sea fishing,” he said.
Speaking at the same media briefing, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said peace and stability in the region was key to the success of both countries. “Whenever there is stability in the Indian Ocean, India and Sri Lanka prosper,” he pointed out.
“The new parliament in Sri Lanka is unique and historic. We have a government formed by the two leading parties in Sri Lanka who have so far contested for power at least from 1956 onwards. We are together for two years to see how we can work out a policy framework, an agreement on unity and reconciliation,” he explained.
He thanked Prime Minister Modi for the help given by the Indian government in resettling and reconstruction in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
He also said the government was looking at how power sharing and devolution take place within the Constitution and within a unitary state, noting “there’s still scope for much more to be done.”
See video for full media briefing: