Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi told Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister that implementation of the 13th Amendment - which devolves power to a merged North-East - was “essential”, as the two leaders met in a virtual summit today.
Modi told Mahinda Rajapaksa that Sri Lanka must “work towards realizing the expectations of Tamils for equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka by achieving reconciliation nurtured by implementation of the Constitutional provisions”.
“He emphasized that implementation of the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution is essential for carrying forward the process of peace and reconciliation,” said an official Indian press release.
During the summit, which is taking place virtually, Rajapaksa reportedly requested a further $1 billion from New Delhi, in the form of a currency swap. Sri Lanka, which is currently in the midst of an economic crisis, already owes about $960 million to India and earlier this year India agreed to a $400 million currency swap facility for Sri Lanka until November 2022.
“Technical discussions on Sri Lanka’s request for debt deferment are going on,” added the Indian statement.
The additional request was one of several aspects discussed during the talks, with Modi announced a US$15 million grant “for the promotion of Buddhist ties between the two countries”.
Modi also added that the “current moment provided a unique opportunity for both countries to work more closely with each other in dealing with the economic impact of COVID-19 and deepening engagement on regional and international issues”.
Rajapaksa was joined by several ministers for the virtual summit, including EPDP leader and fisheries minister Douglas Devananda.