Following RAW assassination plot reports, Sri Lankan President speaks to PM Modi


Sri Lankan President calls Modi, rejects assassination attempt reports

The media reports had come ahead of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to New Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speed up India-backed projects, including the East Terminal project, in the island nation.

"The President of Sri Lanka stated that he categorically rejected the reports in sections of media about him alluding to the involvement of India in any manner whatsoever in an alleged plot to assassinate the President and a former Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka", the statement said.

Sirisena called Prime Minister Modi on the telephone today (October 17). He also reiterated India's emphasis on "neighbourhood first" policy and the priority the Government of India and he personally attach to developing even stronger all-round cooperation between the two countries. Reportedly, the president told his Cabinet about this.

At the Cabinet meeting, Sirisena also hinted that Indian national must be "be a RAW agent" who was sent to kill him.

According to some media reports from Sri Lanka, Cabinet spokesman and minister Rajitha Senaratne said President Sirisena did not say the (Indian) Research and Analysis Wing was allegedly involved in a plot to assassinate him and the President at the Cabinet meeting had actually said attempts were being made to implicate RAW in the alleged plot to assassinate him and damage India-Sri Lanka bilateral ties. Media minister, Mangala Samaraweera said that this was a disinformation campaign and urged reporters to be more responsible.

"We were just shocked when he said it", a source said, requesting anonymity. "That is often the case".

In response, PM Modi praised his government's prompt response quashing the malicious reports. This was reported in the local media widely.

According to The Hindu, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is said to have countered by saying Colombo had already promised New Delhi on collaborating on the project, and it was important to rope in India at the terminal, given that about 80% of the cargo handled at the transhipment hub was meant for India.

The Sri Lankan president's office also said that India's High Commissioner clarified all matters with Sirisena on Wednesday morning. He reportedly sought a week's time to sort out the issue, since he would be meeting Modi soon. However, Presidential adviser Shiral Lakthilaka told the daily that the cancellation had nothing to do with President Sirisena's claims at the cabinet meeting.

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