Sunday, December 8th, 2019

BJP urges Sri Lanka government to address Tamil fishermen issue and other outstanding contentious issues immediately

Sri Lanka flagINVC, Delhi, A BJP delegation comprising BJP National General Secretary Shri Muralidhar Rao and Global Convenor BJP Overseas Affairs Shri Vijay Jolly represented the party at the 8th General Assembly of International Conference of Asian Political Parties at Colombo from 18th to 23rd Sep 2014. This was attended by representatives of political parties of more than 40 Asian countries. This meet was inaugurated by President of Sri Lanka H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa and was addressed by President of Maldives H.E. Abdulla Yameen, LOP Sri Lanka H.E. Ranil Wickramasighe, Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris & Founding Chairman ICAPP Jose De Venicia. The conference helped the representatives of various Asian countries in exchanging ideas and perspectives, which will thereby enable in achieving a broad agreement and understanding on various aspects of connecting Asia to build the Asian century. The trends in economy and demography implies global leadership of Asia in spheres of economy, politics, military, technology, youth and women power, soft power etc. Therefore, if 19th century was characterized as British century and 20th century as American century, 21st century will be ‘Asian century’. The Asian powers are rising once again from the rack and ruin forced by the colonial rule and re-strengthening itself to lead the world in 21st century. GDP of Asia is expected to increase from 17 trillion dollars in 2010 to 174 trillion dollars by 2050, which will be nearly half of global GDP. While the combined share of US and EU in world exports will decline from 43 per cent to 36 percent by 2025, the combined share of China, India and ASEAN countries is projected to increase from 18 percent to 25 percent. Asian population is expected to grow throughout the 21st century and may touch 5 billion by 2050. The economic gains of Asia have helped in lifting millions from poverty, but a large number is still behind. According to ADB, it is estimated that 753.5 million lives under the $1.25 per day poverty line in Asia, which is nearly 21% of the total population. The greatest challenges of Asia remain to be the inclusion of millions of poor in the mainstream and assuring them the benefits of the region’s growth and prosperity. The savings of Asian community and technology will act as drivers of Asian growth. On the sidelines of this conference, the BJP leaders got the opportunity to meet important stakeholders of Sri Lanka politics and governance including the President of Sri Lanka H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, former PM and Leader of Opposition Sri Lanka H.E. Ranil Wickramasighe, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, leaders of Tamil National Alliance, Ceylon Workers Congress, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and prominent persons of Indian origin in Sri Lanka. It gave an opportunity to engage the Sri Lanka leadership on various important issues of mutual interests. A wide range of outstanding issues, particularly relating to ethnic Tamils of Sri Lanka were discussed in a comprehensive way. The BJP leaders while appreciating the Sri Lanka President for the recent move of Sri Lanka government to release the arrested Indian fishermen, also requested the release of trawlers seized in the operations. It was recalled that since the NDA government under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi has come to power in India, the casualties of Tamil fishermen has come to an end and the Sri Lanka government has proactively executed the process of releasing the arrested Tamil fishermen. Shri Muralidhar Rao expressed that the issue related to the fishermen should be seen as an issue of livelihood and the Sri Lanka government while dealing with this problem should be sensitive, flexible and be able to take creative steps. The need for a New Maritime Indo-Lankan policy be evolved to solve this recurrent problem of Indian and Lankan was also stressed at this meeting. Resolving the issue related to fishermen of Tamil Nadu origin will eventually create a reservoir of goodwill in India for the Sri Lanka government. While interacting with the leaders of the Tamil ethnic community in Sri Lanka, it has come to the notice that the resolution of the Tamil problem is only through devolution. Finishing of terrorism should not be taken as finishing of the whole issue. Shri Muralidhar Rao stressed at the meeting with the President that dialogue with Tamil National Alliance and other representatives of the Tamil community should be restarted immediately. The permanent settlement of the pending Tamil issues within the frame work of Sri Lanka Constitution is imminent for restoring peace in Sri Lanka as well progress of the region. Measures should also be taken for the socio-economic upliftment of the upcountry Tamilians in Sri Lanka facing economic hardships, like addressing the housing issue. The vision of Hon. Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi for promoting religious and cultural tourism between India & Sri Lanka evoked consensus on both sides. A Hindu-Buddhist religious circuit connecting various sites of India & Sri Lanka will help people to people interaction and enhance trust between both nations. The BJP leaders highlighted throughout their meetings with all the stakeholders that by addressing the outstanding contentious issues, a new framework for development can be initiated which will help in the overall progress of South Asia.

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