India today emphasised to Sri Lanka the need to fully implement the constitutional provision dealing with devolution of powers to provinces without dilution and to go beyond it to ensure meaningful development there, on a day the Lankan government announced the much-awaited election in Tamil-dominated Northern province.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid conveyed India's views to visiting Lankan Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, who informed Khurshid about the announcement on the conduct of elections.
Expressing his appreciation for the announcement, Khurshid also "emphasized on the need to fully implement the provisions of 13th Amendment (13A) and to go beyond it so as to ensure meaningful development of Sri Lanka. He urged Rajapaksa not to do anything to dilute the provisions of the 13th Amendment," official sources said.
On his part, the Lankan Minister expressed his appreciation for the vast number of projects that are being undertaken by India especially in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
"He said that there was great appreciation amongst the people of Sri Lanka for the variety of projects being undertaken, especially the housing project which was proceeding extremely well," the sources said.
Concerned over reports of Sri Lanka considering removal of land and police powers prior to the northern elections, Khurshid had spoken to his Lankan counterpart G L Peiris recently and underlined the need to leave the 13A unchanged, urging Colombo not to take any step contrary to its own commitments relating to the Amendment.
Apart from Khurshid, Rajapaksa held meetings with the National Security Advisor and the Foreign Secretary.