Sri Lankan leader arriving for talks with India

New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) Sri Lankan Minister Basil Rajapaksa is arriving here Thursday amid Indian concerns that Colombo may dilute a constitutional provision related to devolution of powers to provinces.

Rajapaksa, a brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, will meet External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Friday amid fears that the India-backed 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution could get diluted.

The provision devolves powers to provinces, and was a key decision after India and Sri Lanka signed a pact in 1987 to end Tamil separatism.

Rajapaksa, the economic development minister, is also slated to meet National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, who is set to visit Sri Lanka later this month.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said Rajapaksa’s visit was part of the regular high-level consultation India and Sri Lanka hold.

Rajapaksa could call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Manmohan Singh told a delegation of Sri Lanka Tamil MPs here last month that he was dismayed by reports suggesting that Colombo planned to dilute certain key provisions of the 13th amendment.

This, it is feared, could take place ahead of elections to the northern provincial council.

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