India, Maldives and Sri Lanka will join hands against terror, wrote Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on his Facebook page late on Monday.
The usually taciturn head of government took to the social media to disclose details of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit. He reconfirmed bilateral projects that have, for long, been under consideration, such as offering India the development of a civilian airport in the formerly military airfield, Palali in the Jaffna peninsula as well as upgrading an existing one the eastern coastal town, Batticaloa.
“I also requested that India work closely with Sri Lanka’s security forces, providing them with counter-terrorism training and logistical support,” Wickremesinghe wrote.
Quoting unnamed persons in the PM’s office in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s ‘Daily Mirror’ reported that the Sri Lankan PM broke protocol on Sunday to receive PM Modi at the airport and act as his ‘minister-in-attendance’, but that it was at the request of the PMO in New Delhi, and not at his own behest.
The unnamed persons were also reported to have told the Sri Lankan daily that it was President Maithripala Sirisena, who had originally appointed Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa for the task of minister-in-waiting.
The reported clarification by the persons to the newspaper, reflect the deep differences between the Sri Lankan PM and President and the widening rift within their coalition government.
Earlier media reports indicated that President Sirisena has agreed to back Premadasa as a common coalition candidate for the presidential polls in six months, but not a candidate backed by Wickremesinghe.