- Says H’tota deal was a mistake and has to be renegotiated
- Says won’t do anything to harm India’s interests
In an interview with Nitin A. Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief of Bharat Shakti.in and SNI, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has requested the Tamil diaspora to work together to develop the country and help people irrespective of their community.
When the interviewer commented on peaceful coexistence, the President said, “Rather than just criticising, I would like to even request the Tamil diaspora to forget these things, nobody is benefitted; we must work together to develop our country, help the people in our country irrespective of their community. The majority community will react only if minorities do things that create suspicion. They have to understand that. Anyone born in Sri Lanka is a Sri Lankan citizen. They have equal rights, but they should not do certain things. They have to understand the reality. These problems are prevalent even in so-called advanced societies.”
The President said he understood the importance of Indian concerns. “We can’t act or engage in any activity that threatens the security of India. We are in the region and India is a major power. We have to understand the viewpoint of other countries and act accordingly. But what everybody wants today is economic development,” he said.
Commenting on the leasing out of the Hambantota Port, he said the lease agreement was a mistake. “The previous government leased the Hambantota Port for 99 years. Although China is a good friend of ours and we need its assistance to develop, I’m not afraid to say it was a mistake. I will request them to renegotiate and strike a better deal to assist us. People are not happy with it,” he said.