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Sri Lanka’s internal politics led to the creation of an imaginary RAW assassination plot

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New Delhi, Oct 18: There were reports that emerged suggesting that during a Cabinet meeting, the Sri Lankan President, Mathripala Sirisena had alleged that India's external spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing was planning on assassinating him.

A few hours later, Sirisena telephoned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and categorically rejected the reports in the media about him alluding to the involvement of India in any manner whatsoever in an alleged plot to assassinate the President and a former Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s internal politics led to the creation of an imaginary RAW assassination plot

He mentioned that the michevous and malafide 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.

India dragged into internal politics of Sri Lanka:

It may be recalled that after Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the elections, he accused the R&AW of meddling with the polls, which led to his defeat. Since the defeat of Rajapaksa, there has been a sustained campaign in Sri Lanka to spread disinformation about India.

This spread of disinformation relating to India could also be seen in the context of the differences between Sirisena and Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Also Read | India's R&AW trying to kill me says Sri Lankan President Sirisena

Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, Vappala Balachandran tells OneIndia that this is the most ridiculous charge that I have heard against the R&AW. Why should our agency kill the Sri Lankan President, he asks.

In our entire history nothing of this sort has been planned or executed. It is the vivid imagination of some people and it was wrong on part of the media to have published the story, he also adds.

Balachandran adds that the R&AW has excellent relations with the current Sri Lankan government. Had Rajapaksa made the allegations, then one could understand as his relations were not good with India.

On being asked if the Chinese could be behind the misinformation campaign, Balachandran says he does not think so. They would not get into such an immature type of disinformation campaign. In the entire history R&AW has not done any personal harm to any political leaders. It is the imagination of some that we would try and destabilise a friendly country.

Reacting to this development, an official from New Delhi said that it is unfortunate that such a spread of misinformation is taking place. It clearly appears to be an attempt to embarrass the establishment in both in New Delhi and Sri Lanka ahead of Wickremesinghe's visit to India on Thursday. This is clearly a case of the internal politics of Sri Lanka that has led to the spread of such misinformation. When asked if Rajapaksa and his team could be behind this, the officer offered no comments.

India a true friend:

Sirisena was clearly upset with the development and said that there has be a thorough probe into the spread of such misinformation.

Sirisena said that he regards the Prime Minister (Modi) 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 futher strengtheing them.

Also Read | Lanka govt rejects reports on President Sirisena's assassination plot by India's R&AW

The Prime Minister 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 said a note from the Prime Minster's Office.

Background:

Reports regarding an assassination plot emerged when one person by the name, Namal Kumara, who was part of an anti-corruption outfit claimed that he was aware of the plan to assassinate Sirisena and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

He was questioned, following which a person by the name M Thomas also claimed that he was aware of the plot. This was reported in the local media widely.

The Sri Lankan government however denied this. Media minister, Mangala Samaraweera said that this was a disinformation campaign and urged reporters to be more responsible.

Also Read | PM Modi assassination plot: Urban naxal-NE terror groups under radar

At the meeting that was held on Tuesday, Sirisena said that the India national must be the R&AW agent trying to kill him. The Indian PM may not be aware of this as that is often the case. Trump may not be aware of CIA's similar moves, Sirisena said according to The Hindu report.

At the meeting there was a vehement argument between Sirisena and Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe over the development of the Colombo Port. Sirisena is said to have objected to any Indian involvement in the project. However the PM said that Colombo had already promised New Delhi on collaborating on the project.

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