India strongly denied Lanka’s story


Indian media have reported that Indian External Affairs Ministry officials have ‘flatly denied’ that Indian External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid, made any remarks that all parties should support the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), as claimed by Colombo.

While Colombo claims that Khurshid asked all parties to join the PSC on the 13th Amendment, India strongly denied that the minister gave any such indication, reports the ‘New Indian Express.’

India and Sri Lanka do not seem to be on the same page with both sides giving conflicting views on what transpired when visiting Lankan Minister for Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa, met with External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid last week, it commented.

The Lankan version of the talks appeared in the press release of the Sri Lankan High Commission issued on Friday night. “Minister Khurshid stressed the importance of all political parties in Sri Lanka being represented in the Parliamentary Select Committee, which has as its objective the resolution of issues relating to Constitutional reforms and expressed hope that all parties would join the process.”

There was no official statement from the External Affairs Ministry after the meeting, but official sources flatly denied that Khurshid made any remarks that all parties should support the PSC, as claimed by Colombo.

‘Express’ quoted ‘official sources’ of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs as saying that the Lankan side sought Khurshid’s assistance in getting the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) ‘engaged’ in the PSC process. In reply, Khurshid had said he would speak to the TNA to ‘ascertain their thinking.’ Khurshid had also added that India would continue to ‘facilitate dialogue’ between the Lankan Government and the TNA as part of the political process, it added.

When contacted, a senior official of the Sri Lankan High Commission said the press release presented the ‘factual’ position about the meeting in New Delhi. It was the first ministerial meeting since PM Manmohan Singh issued an unusually critical statement about the moves by Colombo to dilute powers of the Provincial Councils, ahead of the Northern Province polls.