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Former President Rajapaksa spells out mechanism for better rapport with India

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Former President Mahinda Rajapakse has spelt out a new mechanism to establish a healthy rapport between India and Sri Lanka, to coordinate on all issues especially economic issues between Sri Lanka and India and added that it would be implemented when he comes to power in 2019.

He explained that they had a similar mechanism during the war [against the LTTE in 2009] called the Troika, where three officials from both sides were able to discuss any issue, even in the middle of the night. The mechanism would mirror the "Troika" formed in 2008-2009 of three Indian officials — National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh — and three Sri Lankan officials — Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa and Permanent Secretary Lalith Weeratunga — to coordinate India-Sri Lanka ties during the war against the LTTE. in 2008-2009

He was speaking to the prestigious Indian daily 'The Hindu'. In his interview, Mahinda Rajapaske said that he is "100%" confident that his party will come to power in 2019. Just before and after the elections [(in 2015], we had a lot of misunderstandings with India. Now of course, I think it is about time to move on.

He stressed that it is his view that no one should meddle with somebody else's elections whether it is India or otherwise. It is an internal matter of a country, for the people decide whom to bring to power. That was in my mind. I think now they all have understood what went wrong at that time and what they did. So we need to forget about the past. This is the time to move forward and look forward.

He said: 'India is our closest relation, I would say, and our neighbour. And China has been a long-standing friend. In all our dealings with China, we never forgot about the interests of India. We had a very good understanding with the Indian government and we always told them that we would never allow our territory to be used for any activity against our neighbour.

My priority was always to develop my country and I always kept India informed and asked them first to build the port, to build the airport, to build the highways... we always came to India. We offered them first, then the next offer went to China, because they were the only people who could do it.

Our incumbent Sri Lankan government isn't stable. For the security of India, stability in Sri Lanka is very important. A weak government cannot give that guarantee. I think our first priority is investment."

 

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