May 17, Colombo: Leader of Sri Lanka’s opposition and the United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremasinghe says Sri Lanka needs to rethink its policy with India after that country’s regime changes with the victory of Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP).
Speaking to a local radio, the Opposition Leader said the Sri Lankan government has to think anew when dealing with the new government in India led by Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister.
He said the BJP’s landslide victory is “far-reaching” and will have an impact on Sri Lanka and the region.
Wickremasinghe noted that Sri Lanka should not underestimate the victory of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, who is vehemently against the current Sri Lankan government, although her role in the central Indian government may somewhat be diminished due to the BJP’s landslide victory.
He said the Sri Lanka should pay attention to the voting in Tamil Nadu where the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK won 33 out of 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu.
“Look at the results in Tamil Nadu, they have voted for Jayalalithaa. They have a voice. Mr. Modi will not disregard it,” the opposition leader told Hiru FM.
The Opposition Leader said that Jayalalithaa’s strong lead means Sri Lanka must work to find a solution to the Tamil issue that is acceptable to all communities.
Wickremasinghe said the new PM has excellent relations with the Tamil Nadu CM and Sri Lanka needs to change its policies.
“We have to reshape our policies accordingly. I don’t think Mr. Modi will opt for confrontation. He and Jayalalithaa have excellent relations,” he said.
“He has told me that he was against the division of Sri Lanka and he was against terrorism,” Wickremasinghe added.
Responding to a congratulatory message from the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his victory, Mr. Modi said yesterday that he is looking forward to strong relations between India and Sri Lanka.
The Opposition Leader said he expects to meet the new Prime Minister after he officially assumes the duties.
Mr. Modi will be sworn in as India’s new Prime Minister on 21st May.