Sri Lankan reelected Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will visit India from September 14 to 16. It’s his first official visit abroad after he came to office in January. Wickremesighe is likely to meet India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 15.
Main topic of Wickremesinghe’s consultations in Delhi will be the finalisation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the two neighbouring countries have been talking about for several years now without results, due to fears in the Sri Lankan business community and Sinhalese nationalists’ political opposition against India’s dominance in the region.
One of India’s main concerns is the suspension of the the controversial $1.5 billion mega project “Colombo Port City”, which would increase China’s capabilities to control the Indian Ocian.
Other issues of the bilateral talks are the war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka’s former political and military leaders, whether they will be organized domestically or internationally, and the illegal fishing of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters, which led to arrests of Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka. Wikremesinghe until now has taken a tough stand on the fishermen issue even threatining to shoot at intruders into Lankan waters.
Interestingly, Wickremesinghe has recently spoken in favour of a land bridge between Mannar Island and India’s Rameshwaram Island, which would also connect Sri Lanka with mainland South Asia.
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