India, Sri Lanka relationship of critical importance

May 16, New Delhi: India’s relationship with Sri Lanka is critically important to both countries and India is willing to help Sri Lanka in any way possible, India’s External Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna said Monday (16).

Welcoming his Sri Lankan counterpart Prof. G.L. Peiris who is on a three-day official visit to India, Krishna said Sri Lanka is a reliable partner and a steadfast friend of India.

“Our relationship with Sri Lanka is of critical importance not only to India but to Sri Lanka also. We have always found that in Sri Lanka we have a reliable partner, a steadfast friend of India and we wish well for Sri Lanka,”, Krishna noted.

Noting that Sri Lanka has gone through very tumultuous times in the last three decades and now the country is settling down, the Indian Minister expressed his government’s willingness to help Sri Lanka.

“India would be willing to do everything that is possible, depending upon the comfort level of Sri Lanka, to help them, to assist them in whatever manner they want us to help them to settle down,” Minister Krishna assured.

The Indian External Affairs Minister also urged the Sri Lankan government to exercise maximum restraint in dealing with Indian fishermen during the talks with Minister Peiris.

The Indian Minister has said that the Sri Lankan Navy should exercise restraint when dealing with the Indian fishermen crossing into their territorial waters for poaching.

Minister Peiris is in India to garner the support of the Indian government for Sri Lanka to defend against the report of United Nations panel of experts which has alleged Sri Lankan government of committing war crimes during the later stages of the war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists.

The newly elected Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state of India Ms. J. Jayalalitha has urged the Central government to prosecute Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on war crime charges.

Prof. Peiris will also call on Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and meet National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.

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