2:15 PM

Top Indian delegation in Colombo

A high-powered Indian delegation headed by National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan arrived here Friday, with Indian and Sri Lankan sources giving different accounts of their mission. Accompanying Narayanan were Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh. The three officials between them virtually determine India’s policy vis-a-vis Sri Lanka.

The three arrived on a special flight from New Delhi around 11.30 a.m. on a two-day visit, an Indian diplomat told IANS. “Their visit is in connection with the forthcoming SAARC summit.”

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit is scheduled to open Aug 1 in Colombo. “The delegation is scheduled to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other key government officials”, the source said, declining to give further details about the previously unannounced trip. When contacted, a top official of the Presidential Secretariat played down the importance of the visit, calling it a “regular one”.

“Their visit is a part of the ongoing consultation between Sri Lanka and India on the current developments,” the official said, in an obvious reference to the conflict raging in Sri Lanka. The official pointed out that a Sri Lankan delegation comprising Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the president’s secretary Lalith Weeratunga and presidential advisor Basil Rajapaksa went to New Delhi in late 2007.

Source: TheIndian News