Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam said on Saturday that his country believed that the BJP could be a force of unity.
He was talking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the second Dharma-Dhamma Conference of the Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies here.
Asked whether he expected a change in the BJP’s views on Sri Lanka after it allied with the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam led by Vaiko, Mr. Kariyawasam said, “Our belief is that Mr. Vaiko will become more enlightened and will veer away from his anti-Sri Lankan stance. This stance is irrational which he will realise if he visits the northern areas and meets people in Sri Lanka.”
Mr. Kariyawasam said, “We are for unity and the BJP can be a force of unity that can change the approach of Mr. Vaiko towards Sri Lanka.”
The MDMK has opposed military ties between India and Sri Lanka and has condemned the island nation for its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Mr. Vaiko said he had an assurance from BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi that no military assistance would be given to the island nation.
Mr. Kariyawasam lauded Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan for constructing a Sita Temple at Divurumpola, near Nuwara-Eliya in Sri Lanka, where Sita underwent ‘Agnipariksha’ as cited in the Ramayana.
“We appreciated CM Chouhan for the farsightedness in building this temple. Indian pilgrims will visit the place and this will further strengthen ties. Sanchi in M.P. is our umbilical cord as it is from here that Ashoka’s children Mahinda and Sanghamitta left to spread Buddhism in Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Kariyawasam.
The conference was inaugurated by Bhutanese Princess Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuk. Ambassadors of Bhutan and Myanmar, and delegates from the U.S., Canada, Vietnam and the Central Tibetan Administration were participating. The conference concludes on March 2.