Visit By Indian PM 'Should Have Happened Much Earlier' - Sarath Fonseka

Former Lankan Army chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who successfully led the war against LTTE, told PTI that the visit by an Indian Prime Minister should have happened much earlier.

He thanked India for the continued support to Sri Lanka and said the "non-aligned" stand of the two countries should be maintained.

Talking about Modi's visit, he said "It should have taken place years ago. 28 years is a long time but we are glad it is happening."

Modi's visit from March 13-14 will be the first bilateral trip by an Indian Prime Minister since Rajiv Gandhi visited the island in 1987 to sign the Indo-Lanka Accord. Fonseka told PTI that the Indo-Lanka ties had seen some troubled period during the previous regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"There were lot of deals that were done with Chinese governments manipulating various norms. One will have to wait and see if these deals were good for our country," he said, adding that Sri Lanka has historic ties with India.

India had been concerned about the increasing Chinese activities in Lanka and especially after Chinese submarines docked in Lankan ports.

Asked if he was disappointed that India could not help militarily while the war with LTTE was on, Fonseka, who is now the leader of Democratic Party, said it was not so. "India gave us moral support, psychological support. It was more than enough for us. We understood the problems that the then Indian government was facing as regard to sentiments in Tamil Nadu," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)

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