Sri Lanka denies ’secret deals’ with India

November 4th, 2008 - 11:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Nov 4 (IANS) Sri Lanka Tuesday denied allegations in political circles here of “secret deals with India” regarding the military campaign against the Tamil Tigers in the north, and urged people not get misled by such “mischievous construction”.Answering queries raised by the opposition legislators over developments after senior presidential advisor Basil Rajapaksa’s New Delhi visit last month, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told parliament Tuesday: “Successful outcome of Mr. Rajapaksa’s visit has been most reassuring for the peoples of India and Sri Lanka.”

The foreign ministry said in a statement: “Minister Bogollagama strongly refuted media speculation of any secret deals with India. He hailed the excellent understanding that the government has with the Indian government in its efforts to defeat terrorism and restore democracy to the north.”

Bogollagama also “cautioned the general public not to be misguided by the mischievous construction given to this noble gesture of goodwill by India”.

Amid India’s growing concern about the Tamil civilians caught in the northern war zone, Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, who is known as the political strategist of the ruling coalition, undertook a visit to India last month as a special envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

During his two-day visit, he held talks with India’s external affairs minister, national security advisor and foreign secretary on the situation in the north.

Tabling the two official communiqu├ęs issued jointly by India and Sri Lanka Oct 26 in New Delhi at the conclusion of Rajapaksa’s visit, the foreign minister highlighted in parliament “the strong bonds of friendship and trust” that the government had forged with India’s political leadership.

He implicitly criticized “interested parties who were attempting to impute an ulterior motive to the Indian government for the offer of 800 tonnes of relief material for civilians caught up in the conflict in the north”.

Bogollagama emphasized that India had come forward “with this humanitarian assistance, as a goodwill gesture, which reflects the friendship and spirit of good neighbourliness between the two countries”.

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