Sri Lankan foreign minister arrives in India


New Delhi : Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama arrived here Tuesday on a two-day visit during which discussions will be held on ways to revive the faltering peace process in the island nation.

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Although it's a private visit, Bogollagama is likely to meet National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and some senior diplomats in the external affairs ministry Wednesday, sources said.

He is likely to press India to supply Sri Lanka much-needed defence equipment in view of the escalating violence engineered by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the island nation.

India may agree to supply "defensive equipment" to Sri Lanka, but is opposed to selling lethal military hardware due to political sensitivity of the issue in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Sri Lanka has hinted that it will approach Pakistan and China to meet its needs for military hardware if India does not meet its requirements. New Delhi has predictably opposed such a suggestion, but has conveyed to Colombo that it may supply some defensive equipment like high technology radars.

"We are a big power in the region. We do not want the Sri Lankan government to go to Pakistan or China. Whatever be their requirements they should come to us," Narayanan was quoted saying last month in a section of the media.

A proposal for coordinated patrolling of the maritime area in the Palk Straits is likely to figure in the discussions.

Bogollagama heads back home Wednesday evening.