Stressing that India was pleased with Sri Lanka’s progress in the aftermath of 2009, outgoing Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha said the vote in Geneva should not be treated as a vote against the country.
The High Commissioner who took up the posting in Sri Lanka no sooner LTTE terrorism was eradicated in the country, in an interview with the state owned Sunday Observer said, “India will never do anything which will hurt Sri Lanka’s interests,” adding ‘The vote in Geneva was not a vote against Sri Lanka’.
Kantha said that the ‘fundamental interests of Sri Lanka and India are interlinked and there was no contradiction in these interests’.
The High Commissioner said his three-and-a-half year tenure was one that saw heightened interactions between the two neighbours and President Mahinda Rajapaksa made four fruitful visits to India during this period and the exposition of the sacred Kapilavastu relics in Sri Lanka was the zenith of these interactions.
When asked why India isolated Sri Lanka in Geneva last March when a US sponsored resolution was taken up, he said, “We see progress and that gives us confidence. The big picture of our relationship is very positive. There are occasional differences. We may have different perspectives on some issues.”
Speaking on a political settlement, he denied that India is dictating terms to Sri Lanka on a solution aspired by them. “We always recognise that these are domestic processes where people of Sri Lanka, through an internal dialogue arrive at a settlement which is acceptable to them. India has never tried to dictate terms to Sri Lanka. That is not our approach.”
The High Commissioner also assured that the Governments of India and Tamil Nadu have stepped up security and it was safe now for Sri Lankan pilgrims to travel to India.