No deployment of Indian troops for Saarc summit: Sri Lanka

July 12th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Colombo, July 12 (IANS) Sri Lanka has denied rumours that a large contingent of Indian troops would be deployed in Colombo to provide security to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the 15th Saarc summit, scheduled to open here Aug 1. According to media reports, the Leader of the House, Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, dismissed the rumour in parliament Friday while replying to a question by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Bimal Ratnayake.

Ratnayake asked whether 1,500 Indian troops had landed in Sri Lanka as reported in a document published by Observer Research Foundation of India.

The minister said there was no truth in such allegations and that the government had no intention of deploying Indian troops in Sri Lanka for security purposes for the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Corporation (Saarc) summit.

“When a leader of any country visits overseas, he can take a certain number of security officials (for his own security), apart from that no additional troops will be brought to Sri Lanka,” Silva said in parliament amid heated argument with the opposition members.

The radical Marxist JVP, which is widely seen as a party holding anti-Indian sentiments, is a former coalition partner of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“The JVP is attempting to mislead the people by asking these kinds of distorted questions in parliament,” the state-run Daily News quoted the health minister as saying.

The JVP recently suffered a major split in the party when 12 of its 39 MPs, led by its former propaganda secretary Wimal Weerawansa, broke-away and formed a splinter group.

India and Sri Lanka are also scheduled to enter into the long-awaited Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on the sidelines of the Saarc.

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