Jaffna may be on PM Modi’s Sri Lanka visit itinerary

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 28, 2015 01:00 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may visit the Tamil-dominated Jaffna region during his trip to Sri Lanka next month. The PM is scheduled to reach Colombo from Mauritius on March 12. There is, however, no word on whether he would visit Maldives which is currently in turmoil over the arrest of former president Mohamed Nasheed, sources in South Block said.

A Modi visit to the former stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is likely to have immense political significance for Tamil Nadu where elections are due next year. The BJP is trying to enlarge its presence in the southern state.

Modi’s trip will likely coincide with the Human Rights Council session in Geneva where progress in the probe into Lanka’s record under former president Mahinda Rajapaksa will be reviewed. It would also mark a strengthening of ties under President Maithripala Sirisena, who, government officials say, prefers to be closer to India than China, and has made an effort to reach out to Tamil minorities.

Modi will be the first Indian PM after Rajiv Gandhi to travel to Lanka for a bilateral visit. Gandhi had visited in 1987 to sign a peace accord with then president JR Jayewardene.

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