A six-member delegation of Indian parliamentarians will visit Sri Lanka from April 8 to 12. The multi-party delegation visiting Colombo and Jaffna will not, however, include MPs from Tamil Nadu.
Jyoti Malhotra, a journalist and coordinator of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, foreign cell -- which is organising the visit -- said that the delegation will include Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress, Sandeep Dikshit of the Congress, Anurag Thakur of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Dhananjay Singh of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Madu Goud Yaskhi of the Congress from the Lok Sabha, and BJP’s Prakash Javadekar from the Rajya Sabha.
The Indian parliamentarians will meet Sri Lankan MPs, senior ministers and other political leaders.
The Indian MPs will visit Jaffna to check on projects supported by the Indian government, particularly the owner-driven housing initiative, the High Commission said on Friday.
India is funding the construction of 50,000 dwelling units to help rehabilitate the internally displaced Tamils in the ethnic strife in the island’s northeast. They will be accompanied by two FICCI representatives.
Malhotra, who will be accompanying the MPs, said that FICCI has been working to constitute a ‘track two political dialogue’ between Indian parliamentarians and their Sri Lankan counterparts for greater political interaction and understanding.
The visit beginning on Monday is part of a larger programme that seeks to institutionalise political partnerships. Similar interactions have earlier been held between Indian MPs and their counterparts from Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Malhotra in a statement said: "We intend to pursue these political tracks within South Asia because we believe that talking to each other can be the only way forward out of any crisis, whether political or economic. We greatly look forward to our visit to Sri Lanka to take forward our very dynamic relationship."
This year’s visit comes at a time when political parties, students and social activists in Tamil Nadu have been protesting against the Sri Lankan government for the atrocities committed by its security forces in the northeast during the last phase of Eelam War IV and the continuing harassment of minority Tamils even four years after the civil war ended.