Colombo: In a first by any Indian political
leader, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Tuesday visited an
IPKF memorial near here and paid rich tributes to the Indian
soldiers who laid down their lives on a peacekeeping mission
in war-torn Sri Lanka.
Krishna, who is on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka to hold
talks with the top political leadership, drove to the memorial
located in Pelawatte, 10 km from here, and called it an
"abiding testimony" to the strong bonds of friendship between
the two countries.
"It is a matter of pride for me to be here at the IPKF
memorial in Sri Lanka, raised in honour of those brave
soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces, who paid the ultimate
sacrifice while serving the cause of peace in Sri Lanka,"
Krishna wrote in the Visitor`s Book at the memorial.
The memorial for soldiers of the IPKF, who were sent to
Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1989 as part of the Indo-Sri Lanka
accord signed by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the then
Sri Lankan President Jayawardhane, was built in 2008.
Krishna paid rich tributes to the 1,200 soldiers who lost
their lives during the nearly two-year operation in this
country and termed the memorial as an "abiding testimony to
the strong bonds of friendship between the governments and the
people of India and Sri Lanka".
"It is a also a symbol of India`s commitment to the
unity, stability and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. On
this occasion, I would like to pay my humble tribute to the
exceptional courage and commitment shown by our soldiers under
extremely challenging circumstances," the Minister wrote.