Sri Lanka says no cancellation of defence dialogue with India



Colombo: Sri Lanka on Tuesday dismissed media reports about cancellation of its annual bilateral defence talks with India, where the government is facing pressure from Tamil Nadu-based parties to vote in favour of the US-backed resolution against Colombo at the UN Human Rights Council.

A government source here on the condition of anonymity said the talks were to be held in Colombo from 23 to 25 March.

He said the official reason given by Indian authorities was that the Defence Minister was required to remain in New Delhi at the time to answer any queries in Parliament.

The Indian authorities came back with mid April dates which the Sri Lankans were not able to accommodate due to the long Sinhala/Tamil New Year recess.

The source added that the talks would now be held in late April or early May on dates yet to be confirmed.

The Indian media has reported that the annual defence talks would not take place for unknown reasons but hinted that the decision may have been taken in view of the current political heat generated in Tamil Nadu over the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva this week.

The DMK, a UPA ally, has been irked by continuous training provided in the state for Sri Lankan troops. This forced New Delhi to locate some of the training elsewhere.

India, which voted in favour of the US moved resolution last year, has come under increasing pressure from Tamil Nadu to force America to make the new resolution more stronger.

PTI