Sri Lankan opposition wants details of Indian delegation’s visit

June 23rd, 2008 - 2:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, June 23 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s opposition parties have urged the ruling coalition to disclose the reasons behind the “sudden visit” to Colombo by a high-powered Indian delegation led by National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, a media report said Monday. The demand from the opposition parties has come as both the Indian and Sri Lankan governments remain tight-lipped on the visit, while implying that the officials came here for a routine consultative meeting ahead of the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit in Colombo.

John Amaratunga, a leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), claimed there was a “crucial aspect” to the two-day previously unannounced visit, pointing out that it had came at a time when the country was “at crossroads in economic and war fronts”, the Daily Mirror reported.

“Today, India is concerned about what is happening in Sri Lanka. The ongoing military campaign will have serious implications (for) Tamil Nadu (and) the Indian government. So we are eager to know the true position of the visit,” said Amaratunga.

The Indian delegation, which included foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon and defence secretary Vijay Singh, arrived here Friday. The team called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa Saturday and met other officials, including defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the army and navy commanders, separately.

Before returning to New Delhi Saturday evening, the delegation also held talks with R. Sampanthan, the parliamentary group leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which supports the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The team also met Minister of Social Services Douglas Devananda, who is the leader of the anti-LTTE Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP).

The Indians, however, did not meet UNP leader and former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is reportedly facing an internal party crisis.

Meanwhile, the radical Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has claimed that the visit by the Indian delegation was “similar to what happened during the Vadamaradchchi operation in 1987″ and demanded the government divulge the details of all discussions held.

JVP’s parliamentary group leader Anurakumara Dissanayake said India intervened to halt the Vadamaradchchi military operation against the LTTE in 1987 and later forced a peace accord on the Sri Lankan government.

“It is the responsibility of the government to disclose the details of the visit as conflicting reports have appeared in the media,” said Dissanayake.

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