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NSA to meet President, common Opposition leaders in Sri Lanka

Ajit Doval

Ajit Doval  

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National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, who will be in Sri Lanka on Monday, will meet top leaders of the newly-formed common Opposition platform, in addition to meeting President Mahinda Rajpaksa, The Hindu learns from political sources in Colombo.

Mr. Doval is on Monday scheduled to deliver the keynote address at ‘Galle Dialogue 2014,’ an international conference on maritime security and cooperation in the coastal town of Galle in southern Sri Lanka.

The President’s office confirmed that the NSA was scheduled to meet Mr. Rajapaksa. In his meeting with the President and Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Mr. Doval is expected to discuss maritime security in Sri Lanka and Maldives. China's increasing role in the island may also be raised. Just over a month ago, the NSA met President’s brother and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in New Delhi, to convey India’s serious concerns over China’s growing military presence in the island. According to political sources Mr. Doval, during his visit, is expected to meet Maithripala Sirisena, who recently defected from Mr. Rajapaksa’s ruling party to be named common Opposition candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, who is backing him. He will also meet leaders of the United National Party — the main Opposition party that has joined the common platform — the Tamil National Alliance and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

The NSA’s visit, apparently packed with political meetings with the government and the opposition, comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished Mr. Rajapaksa “good luck” in the upcoming political elections when the two leaders met at the recently-held SAARC summit in Nepal.

The Sri Lankan President, who in 2010 rewrote the Constitution to remove the two-term limit on the presidency, will target an unprecedented third term in office in the coming elections. Perceived as an "invincible and charismatic" leader among certain sections, Mr. Rajapaksa called for snap polls -- two years ahead of schedule -- reportedly due to the waning popularity of his government that some sections term “corrupt” and “authoritarian”.

Mr. Doval’s visit on December 1 and 2 is his first after assuming charge as India’s NSA. His predecessor Shivshankar Menon was in Sri Lanka in July 2013, and delivered a “clear message” on the need for Sri Lanka to deliver on its promises to devolve power to its provinces.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2018 6:27:43 AM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/nsa-to-meet-president-common-opposition-leaders-in-sri-lanka/article6644518.ece