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Modi to visit Jaffna during SL trip

Posted in S. Asia

Published on February 06, 2015 with No Comments

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Sri Lanka in March, the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the island nation in over 25 years. During the visit, Mr. Modi is likely to travel to Jaffna in the Tamil-majority Northern Province, official sources in New Delhi have been quoted by daily from Chennai.

The visit has been scheduled a month after the visit of Sri Lanka’s newly elected President, Maithripala Sirisena, to New Delhi in mid-February. Mr. Modi’s visit will coincide with the 28th Human Rights Council session in Geneva, where progress on a U.S.-sponsored investigation into Sri Lanka’s rights record will be reviewed.

The previous bilateral visit to Sri Lanka by an Indian Prime Minister was in 1987, when Rajiv Gandhi travelled to Colombo to sign the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord with the then Sri Lankan President, J. R. Jayewardene. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Colombo in 2008 to attend the SAARC summit and hand over its chairmanship to the then President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, he skipped the Commonwealth Summit that Sri Lanka hosted in November 2013, a decision that was strongly criticised by sections in New Delhi and Colombo.

Modi is expected to travel across the island, including to the North where India has infrastructure initiatives, including a project to build 50,000 houses for war-displaced people. The two countries are engaged in discussions on the possible repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees in India.


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