Sri Lanka has reiterated its commitment to the 13th Amendment which provides for devolution of powers to the Tamil-dominated northern and eastern provinces in the island nation.
India, which has been trying to firmly nudge Sri Lanka into devolving powers while acknowledging the difficult task before Colombo, has said “a lot more needs to be done” while hoping for “early progress”.
Foreign minister G.L. Peiris who was in India to lead the Sri Lankan side during the Eighth India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission Meeting said the Lankan government believes the 13th Amendment is an “integral part” of the Constitution.
Later, the two sides also inked two pacts — an agreement on combating international terrorism and illicit drug-trafficking and a revised double taxation avoidance agreement.
Noting that his country’s government is a coalition, Professor Peiris said there were different schools of thought on the 13th Amendment and that this was to be expected in a coalition.
Asked if India is satisfied with the progress made thus far by the island nation on devolution, India’s external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said it was facing a “challenging task” of reconstruction having gone through an “extremely painful experience”.
Stating that there was no reason for India to feel dissatisfied, the minister conceded that a lot still needs to be done.