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Shringla focuses on Tamil rights, takes stock of Indian development projects in Sri Lanka

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla pays homage to Gandhi's statue on his Sri Lanka visit (Photo: MEA)

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who is in Sri Lanka on a four-day visit, assured the minority Tamil population about India's commitment towards protecting their rights.

Shringla held discussions with Tamil political parties–Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) and the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC).

The Indian High Commission tweeted: "Foreign Secretary @harshvshringla had separate and productive meetings with delegations from TNA, TPA and CWC". The High Commission added: "He emphasized India's commitment to protecting the rights of Tamils through full implementation of the 13th amendment, early convening of Provincial Council elections, achieving reconciliation and establishing connectivity to India".

Inaugurating Development Cooperation Projects at Temple Trees, Colombo, Shringla said: "In the past one year, India has buttressed its credentials of being a net security provider and first responder in HADR situations in the wider Indian Ocean region.

India was happy to respond to Sri Lanka’s requests in recent cases of fire and marine pollution in its waters. The Indian Navy also deployed its assets for rapid delivery of medical grade oxygen to Sri Lanka in August to deal with its COVID situation".

The Sri Lankan media reported on discussions between Shringla and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa over strengthening bilateral relations and tourism ties

The two countries also plan to improve connectivity through flights between Jaffna and Chennai and start ferry services between Karaikal and Kankesanthurai as well as Dhanushkodi and Talaimanar. India will also support the new international airport at Kushinagar in a bid to boost Sri Lankan tourism.

Shringla stressed in his talks that Indian projects in Sri Lanka employ local companies, use local materials and employ local labour.

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