Rajapaksa-Modi Meeting on UNGA Session Sidelines Likely

ss-n-rpCOLOMBO: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa are likely to meet on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly session in New York in the third week of September, Lankan officials told Express.

“Whether Modi will meet a particular Head of Government or not will depend on the number of requests made and the availability of time. The Indian PM is expected to be in New York for three days when he will be having bilateral meetings with select Heads of Government among other engagements, apart from addressing the Assembly,” an official said.

While the Lankan President will address the General Assembly on September 25, the Indian PM will do so on September 27.

Rajapaksa is believed to be keen on meeting Modi following the latter’s much publicized session with the Tamil National Alliance at which the Indian PM had expressed his commitment to the Tamil cause and to the 13th Amendment as the basis for power devolution to the Tamil-speaking provinces.

He had also backed the TNA’s demand that bilateral talks between the Lankan government and the TNA should be resumed, irrespective of the fate of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).

The Rajapaksa government is uneasy with the TNA’s tendency to seek Indian and other foreign help instead of joining the PSC. In this context, President Rajapaksa will certainly be eager to know Modi’s mind first hand.

Modi himself is believed to be eager to convey to Rajapaksa his take on the situation in Sri Lanka after his interaction with the TNA. That the Lankan Tamil issue has become important for the BJP is evident in the meeting the TNA had with the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit at Chennai on their way back to Lanka from New Delhi.