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Basil Rajapaksa on way to New Delhi

world Updated: Aug 24, 2010 20:54 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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A senior Sri Lankan minister is heading to New Delhi on Tuesday to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Indian officials during a two-day visit.

Economic Development minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is also President Mahinda Rajapaksa's brother, is expected to apprise Singh about developments in the war-ravaged northern districts of Sri Lanka and also discuss progress in the process of reconciliation a year after the civil war ended in May, 2009.

Reports said while initially Rajapaksa was supposed to be part of a larger delegation including defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the size of the delegation was pruned at the last moment.

Lalith Weeratunga, President Rajapaksa's secretary, told Daily Mirror Online: "Only Minister Basil Rajapaksa will leave for India. The defence secretary and I will not be going."

According to the report, he refused to divulge the reasons behind the two government members not attending the talks in India.

But the pruning of the delegation comes days after India asked Sri Lanka to delay the visit to New Delhi for the scheduled talks. "The delegation was earlier expected to leave on August 15 but had to re-schedule for August 24 after India's request was made," the news report said.