Rajapaksa to avoid New Delhi during India visit
New Delhi: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives Friday in India for pilgrimage and he will not visit New Delhi to meet the country`s leaders, official sources said.
Rajapaksa`s trip to Bodh Gaya in Bihar and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh comes amid barely concealed strains in India-Sri Lanka ties over Colombo`s refusal to devolve powers to provincial councils.
The president will fly from Colombo Friday to Bodh Gaya, the site where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and which hosts a 1,500-year-old temple -- the most sacred to Buddhists worldwide.
While in Bihar, Rajapaksa is expected to meet Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He is also set to inaugurate a cultural centre in Bodh Gaya.
According to Indian officials, Rajapaksa will then proceed to the Tirupati temple, before returning to Sri Lanka Saturday or Sunday.
Termed a "personal visit", the president is avoiding New Delhi despite Sri Lankan concerns over how India will vote in the upcoming UN human rights meet in Geneva.
Last year, India voted for a US-sponsored resolution urging Sri Lanka to go for reconciliation and speedily rehabilitate those derailed by the long running ethnic conflict that ended in May 2009.
The Sri Lankan president has been quoted as saying that he is opposed to granting autonomy to provinces, remarks that are widely seen as going back on promises made earlier to Indian leaders.
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch urged the Indian government to put pressure on Sri Lanka to embrace a path of reconciliation with the Tamil community following the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.
Rights activists and political parties in Tamil Nadu want India to vote against Sri Lanka in Geneva. Human Rights Watch has also demanded that the November Commonwealth summit should be taken away from Sri Lanka.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Security guard beats woman journalist publicly in Pakistan
- Pakistan violates ceasefire in J&K's Hiranagar; 7 Pak Rangers killed, BSF jawan injured
- ISIS terrorists escape Mosul disguised in women's clothing
- DNA: Analysing the existing poor condition of Indian education system
- DNA: Pakistan violates ceasefire in J&K's Hiranagar; Seven Pak Rangers killed
- MS Dhoni reacts in astonishment as Axar Patel takes a stunning one-handed catch - VIDEO
- Navjot Singh Sidhu out on zero to Waqar Younis in 1990 – The match Kapil Sharma keeps talking about
- BSP shrugs off Rita Bahuguna 's jump; says BJP will still face defeat in UP polls
- MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli? Here's Virender Sehwag's best ever reply
- Sushant Singh Rajput’s former girlfriend Ankita Lokhande’s Karva Chauth photos will surprise you