By Jamila Husain
Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner designate to India, Milinda Moragoda, is yet to travel to New Delhi despite India approving his appointment during the latter part of last year. His office says he will leave soon but with no confirmation of a date.
Sri Lanka and India have already gone through some diplomatic turmoil in recent months with the government refusing to hand over the East Container Terminal (ECT) to an Indian company, instead nominating the Western Container Terminal, then India abstaining from voting at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on Sri Lanka last week and releasing a strong statement on Tamil issues in the island and now the latest issue of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters heating up once again.
When contacted, Moragoda’s Office confirmed that he will leave to take up his post to New Delhi soon but was unable to say when. An official said preparations were being made for him to leave for Delhi.
Moragoda was not available for a direct comment.
Speculation was rife months ago that Moragoda may be reluctant to take up his position as India had expressed some concerns over his cabinet rank. However the Daily Mirror learns that by the end of last year India had issued the clearance for Moragoda to be welcomed as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in New Delhi and with Indian officials maintaining to this date that his cabinet rank was more applicable to Sri Lanka than for New Delhi.
“What we heard is this position would come into effect more when he is in Sri Lanka for diplomatic work and to communicate with the Sri Lankan government,” a senior Indian official said.
Moragoda was personally appointed to the post by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
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