Sri Lanka suicide attacks threat to regional security, India says

ECONOMYNEXT – Suicide bombings on Easter Sunday which killed over 250 people in Sri Lanka in April were not just against Sri Lanka but pose a threat to regional security, India’s envoy in the island has said.

Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, said individual countries cannot remain peaceful, secure and prosperous, if the region and world at large were to be in turmoil.

“Terrorism and radicalism pose a collective threat to humanity,” he told the launch of a diplomacy and world affairs program at the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute.

“The recent attacks in Sri Lanka, is not just against Sri Lanka,” Sandhu said.

“Terrorism anywhere in the world attacks the conscience of whole humanity; it attacks the human spirit that we are one. The divisive Jihadi ideology needs to be isolated and eliminated, as it is a threat to regional security and global peace.”

Indian intelligence had warned Sri Lanka about the Easter Sunday bombings, which also killed foreigners and tourists, but the island’s security agencies had failed to act on the warnings, the government has said.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has offered “all possible assistance in this regard, should Sri Lanka require,” Sandhu said, in his first public remarks since Modi’s re-election.

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The Indian High Commission issued a statement on Sandhu’s remarks, saying he spoke about India’s foreign policy with special emphasis on national security, and also touched upon various aspects of India-Sri Lanka relations.

Modi is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on Sunday, June 9, part of his first overseas trip after his re-election.

“He will carry the message of solidarity and hope from people of India to the people of Sri Lanka, in the aftermath of April 21 attacks,” the Indian high commission statement said.

“The decisive mandate for PM Modi in the recent elections in India is a reflection of support for continuation of the Government’s policies,” the statement quoted Sandhu as saying.

“The continuation and further strengthening of these policies is also in Sri Lanka’s interest,” he said.

The core aim of India’s foreign policy is to ensure safety and security of its 1.3 billion people and meet their genuine developmental aspirations, he said.

“While pursuing India’s objectives, India is not governed by self-interest alone,” Sandhu said.

“India has always believed in sharing its developmental successes. Growing together has been the basic tenet of India’s foreign policy. As Prime Minister Modi has said, India seeks a future for Indian Ocean that lives up to the name of SAGAR- Security and Growth for All in the Region.”

India has always been a ‘First Responder’ to Sri Lanka’s needs and priorities, Sandhu said.

“Whether it be the flood or drought, India has been the first to respond with men and material. India has also completed several people oriented development projects all across the island, as pure gifts from people of India.”
(COLOMBO, 07 June 2019 – operning paragraph – recast)