Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Wednesday called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi and “categorically rejected” reports in a section of the media about him alluding to the involvement of India in an alleged plot to assassinate him and a former defence secretary, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
A statement quoted him as saying that “mischievous and mala fide reports were utterly baseless and false, and seemed intended to create misunderstanding between the two leaders as well as damage the cordial relations between the two friendly neighbours.”
The President apprised Modi of the urgent steps taken by him personally and the government to “publicly reject” these reports.
He also recalled his meeting with the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Wednesday morning.
“The President also stated that he regards the Prime Minister as a true friend of Sri Lanka, as also a close personal friend. He stressed that he greatly valued the mutually beneficial ties between India and Sri Lanka, and remained steadfast to work with the Prime Minister for further strengthening them,” the statement said.
Modi appreciated the prompt steps taken by the President and his government to firmly refute the malicious reports by publicly clarifying the matters.
He also reiterated India’s emphasis on ‘neighbourhood first’ policy and the priority the government of India and he personally attach to developing even stronger all-round cooperation between the two countries.
Earlier Wednesday, the Sri Lankan government had rejected as “completely untrue” media reports that President Sirisena accused India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of plotting his assassination and he opposed awarding a key port project to India.
The media reports came ahead of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to New Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Modi to speed up India-backed projects, including the East Terminal project, in the island nation.