Colombo, June 09: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will brief Indian leaders on efforts to end the 18-year civil war with the Tamil tiger rebels early this week
in a bid to secure New Delhi's blessing - a crucial step in
the island nation's peace process.
It would not be possible to make our journey towards peace a success without the blessings of India, Sri Lanka's minister of economic reforms Milinda Moragoda, who is
accompanying the Prime Minister during his five-day visit to India, said.
India has been supportive of Sri Lanka's peace efforts and Sri Lankan leaders have always kept their powerful neighbour informed of developments in the peace process.
Among other reasons, the government is keen to see stability in Sri Lanka to avoid an exodus of refugees arriving onto its shores. In the early 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan refugees sailed across the Palk Strait to take refuge in Tamil Nadu.
Wickremesinghe is expected to focus on the rebels' key demand - the lifting of Sri Lanka's four-year-old ban on the group - when he meets with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other leaders in New Delhi tomorrow and on Tuesday.
New Delhi banned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam after one of its suicide bombers killed former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. The rebels are thought to have targeted Gandhi for sending Indian troops into Sri Lanka in 1987 as peacekeepers.