India on Wednesday rejected reports that it was bringing its own nationals to Sri Lanka to carry out reconstruction work in the war-ravaged northern districts.
Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, on a three-day visit to the Island nation, denied that there was any move to bring in Indian labour for reconstruction work here. Construction of houses and other reconstruction work that India was helping Sri Lanka with was being done with local help, Rao reiterated.
A report in the local Sunday Times newspaper had claimed that India was transporting 20,000 workers to Sri Lanka to carry out reconstruction activities.
“We want to participate in their recovery and progress,” Rao said during her visit to the Mullaitivu administrative district. On Tuesday, Rao visited Jaffna, Kilinochchi and the camps for the internally displaced in Vavuniya.
In Jaffna, Rao had an interactive meet with members of the civil society where Tamil academics and intellectuals shared their complaints, apprehensions and expectations about India’s role in Sri Lanka with her.
According to reports, Rao was told that the people of Jaffna expect that India to play an active role in extracting a political settlement on the ethnic issue from Colombo. But at the same time, doubts were expressed whether India – which sided with the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime in its fight against the Tamil Tigers – would indeed help the Lankan Tamils to get that.
Rao, met President Rajapaksa on Wednesday evening.