Colombo, Sep 20 :
A wide range of issues, particularly relating to ethnic Tamils of Sri Lanka, came up for discussion during a meeting of senior BJP leaders Muralidhar Rao and Vijay Jolly with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Palace in Colombo Saturday.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Muralidhar Rao said a dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance should be restarted immediately to ensure lasting peace in Sri Lanka, and that all pending Tamil issues needed to be resolved within the framework of the Sri Lankan constitution, a BJP press release said.
The BJP leaders repeatedly stressed on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept of “Sabka Saath-Sabka Vikas” during the meeting with the Sri Lankan president on the vexed Tamil question.
The BJP leaders appreciated the recent Sri Lankan move to release arrested Indian fishermen but also demanded the release of trawlers seized in the operations.
The need for a new maritime Indo-Lankan policy to solve the recurrent problem of arrests of Indian and Lankan fishermen was also stressed at the meeting.
Rao said the issue of fishermen should be viewed as an issue of livelihood and that the Sri Lanka government should be sensitive and more flexible while dealing with the problem.
The leaders agreed on promoting religious and cultural tourism between the two countries by developing a Buddhist circuit in India and a Hindu circuit in Sri Lanka to help increase people-to-people interaction and strengthen goodwill and friendship between the two countries.
Rao and Jolly, the global convener of BJP’s overseas affairs, were in Sri Lanka to participate in the Asian Political Parties Conference. Although the meet will end Sep 21, the BJP leaders will extend their visit for two more days to meet the leaders of various social and political organisations of Tamils in Sri Lanka.