Sri Lanka avoided any commitment over an Indian call for the implementation of the 13th Amendment during a virtual summit between the leaders of the two countries yesterday.
Indian Premier Narendra Modi called on the Sri Lankan Government to address the “aspirations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace and respect within a united Sri Lanka, by carrying forward the process of reconciliation with the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.”
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed confidence that Sri Lanka would work towards realising the expectations of all ethnic groups, including Tamils, by achieving reconciliation nurtured as per the mandate of the people and implementation of the constitutional provisions.
The positions of Premier Modi and Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa were outlined in a joint statement issued by the two countries last evening.
However, a statement issued in Colombo by Prime Minister Rajapaksa’s office made no reference to the subject. Instead, like the Indian statement, it listed out a broad range of issues discussed both by Premier Rajapaksa and his Indian counterpart.
Though Premier Rajapaksa assured Northern fishermen on Friday that he would take up the case of Indian fishermen’s illegal bottom-trawling in the Northern waters, there was no mention in his statement about the position taken.
However, the joint statement said both countries would “continue to address the issues related to fishermen through regular consultation and bilateral channels according to the existing frameworks and shared goals, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Indian Premier Modi also announced a grant assistance of USD 15 million for the promotion of Buddhist ties between the two countries while stressing the longstanding civilisational links and cultural heritage.
The Indian premier in his opening remarks said that in addition to the USD 400 million currency swap facility to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in the recent past, another additional request for a currency swap arrangement worth around USD 1 billion by the Sri Lanka side is still under discussion.
The two premiers agreed to “deepen cooperation” in renewable energy with particular emphasis on solar projects under a USD 100 million line of of credit from India.