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India to press for land, police powers

2013 Oct 09

By Ananth Palakidnar

Indian External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid, has told a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation that India will continue to discuss unresolved issues such as land and police powers for the provincial administrations, with the Sri Lankan Government.

Khurshid met the TNA delegation comprising R. Sampanthan, M.A. Sumanthiran, Suresh Premachandran and Selvam Adaikalanathan at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel yesterday, where the Indian minister congratulated the Alliance over its victory at the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) polls.

"India can assist more towards stabilizing the NPC in the future. The NPC polls outcome is only a small step in the direction of settling the issues," Khurshid said.

During the meeting, the Indian minister was briefed extensively on the political developments and the unresolved humanitarian issues in the North by the TNA delegation.

The TNA members emphasized the need to strengthen the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, while pointing out the challenges to fully implementing the Amendment.

Sampanthan, detailing on the meeting with Khurshid, said the Indian minister discussed issues pertaining to the NPC in a positive manner. "We pointed out that the outcome of the NPC polls has highlighted the desire of the people in the North towards settling the political and the humanitarian issues," he said.

Sumanthiran said the TNA's meeting with the Indian External Affairs Minister was satisfactory. "The TNA emphasized the need to strengthening the 13th Amendment and pointed out that apart from the powers already devolved in the 13th Amendment, more powers should be included to enhance the Amendment. Therefore, India's cooperation in implementing the 13th Amendment and the devolution of powers is vital at this juncture to make the NPC more effective," he added.



Khurshid who also met the Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council, C.V. Wigneswaran, had pledged to extend support to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

The meeting between Wigneswaran and Khurshid took place at a Guest House in Jaffna, where they had discussed issues pertaining to the implementation of the 13th Amendment, Indian fishermen encroaching into Sri Lankan waters and post-war reconstruction activities in the North.



Commenting on his meeting with Khurshid, Wigneswaran said it was encouraging as far as the devolution of powers to the Northern Province, were concerned. "Salman Khurshid listened patiently to the challenges being faced in the implementation of the 13th Amendment, and said India would play its part to overcome the obstacles in devolving power to the North and East," Wigneswaran said.



Khurshid had also said the railway project to the North would be completed in 2014, and India would embark on a project to build a civil airport in Palaly, in 2015.

The Indian External Affairs Minister had pledged his support towards various other post-war reconstruction projects being carried out in the North.

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