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‘I am a firm believer in co-operative federalism’ Indian prime minister tells Sri Lanka

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on Sri Lanka to go beyond the 13th Amendment and reiterated his belief in “co-operative federalism”, as he began his visit to the island with speeches in Colombo.

Speaking to the media on Friday morning, Mr Modi said,

“We stand with [Sri Lanka] in your efforts to build a future that accommodates the aspirations of all sections of society, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, for a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka.”

“We believe that early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment and going beyond it would contribute to this process,” added the prime minister.

He later addressed the Sri Lankan parliament where he said he was “a firm believer in cooperative federalism.”

Mr Modi was reiterating calls made when first took up office last year, where he had also urged the former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa to “go beyond” the 13th amendment.

“When we empower states, districts and villages, we make our country stronger and stronger,” said Mr Modi. “So, we are devolving more power and more resources to the states. And, we are making them formal partners in national decision making processes.”

Speaking on Indo-Sri Lankan relations Mr Modi continued to say,

“My vision of an ideal neighbourhood is one in which trade, investments, technology, ideas and people flow easily across borders; when partnerships in the region are formed with the ease of routine.”

“India`s trade environment is becoming more open,” said Mr Modi. “Sri Lanka should not fall behind others in this competitive world.”

See the full text of his address to the media here and his speech to parliament here.

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