Dec 30 2014, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking an unprecedented third term in office, has said that his objective is to strengthen ties with key neighbors such as India and China.
In a recent interview given to Thanti TV, a Tamil TV channel based in Chennai, the Sri Lankan President has described India as a relative of Sri Lanka and China as a friend of the island-nation.
In the interview President Rajapaksa has praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for opening up his foreign policy to enable India and Sri Lanka to have stronger ties, according to an ANI report.
“The Indian Prime Minister has opened up his foreign policy to enable our two countries to have stronger ties. We have spoken many times. I think we have very similar visions for our countries, which is what has made it possible for us to further strengthen our relations. I believe our relations will continue to grow in a number of areas. That is what enabled me to take the decision to release the (five) Indian fishermen, who were sentenced to death (for smuggling narcotics),” Rajapaksa was quoted as saying at the Interview with Thanti TV.
When asked about the autonomy for Tamils in the Northern Province, the President has rejected that his government were looking for ways to prevent the existence of a Tamil-dominant government in the country’s North.
He said the Tamil National Alliance Government in that region had the potential to do many things, and was only blaming the central government for their failures.
Dismissing India’s concerns over China’s expansion of its influence in the region, the Sri Lankan President has assured that he will not let Sri Lanka be used as grounds for conflicts.
“I will not allow my soil to be used against my friends and neighbors,” he has said.