In a shocking report which first surfaced on Tuesday, The Hindu had earlier reported that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena had accused India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) of plotting his assassination. The Hindu claimed that it had learnt from the sources present at the meeting that Sirisena had stated that the Indian intelligence agency was “trying to kill” him, but “Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not be aware of the plan.” This charge was seen as something that might jeopardize India’s friendly relationship with Sri Lanka, which has stayed on a high note ever since President Sirisena came to power. It was also claimed that President Sirisena had reportedly said “the Indian national must be a RAW agent trying to kill me. The Indian PM may not be aware. That is often the case. Trump may not be aware of CIA’s similar moves.” The Hindu had also claimed in its report that it spoke to multiple sources in the government who confirmed this.
This was seen as something that could lead to tensions between New Delhi and Colombo. According to the Hindu, the source which broke this news stated, “we were just shocked when he said it.” the report also stated that when the President’s media unit was contacted for verification, it replied, “We will verify this and revert.” However, no response was received as such. The idea that the President’s media unit was indifferent towards this question and was giving a cold shoulder to queries could have led to further misunderstanding between the two sides.
This report also became critical given that President Sirisena’s claim came just days before Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s scheduled visit to New Delhi. The Sri Lankan PM is supposed to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discuss several bilateral issues. It is even more appalling that such a report surfaced even though President Sirisena is seen as someone who is friendly towards India. While the erstwhile Rajpaksa regime was seen as opposed to India. There is no reason why the Indian intelligence agency would plot his assassination. That too when it is in fact believed that it was the R&AW which had backed president Sirisena as against his predecessor Rajpaksa.
However, the Sri Lankan government came out with an official refusal, nullifying all these rumors. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday himself rang up Prime Minister Narendra Modi in order to clear the air around this controversy. In his telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he categorically rejected the media reports about him alluding to the involvement of India in any manner whatsoever in an alleged plot to assassinate the President and a former Defense Secretary of Sri Lanka. A statement from the PMO stated, “he (President Sirisena) mentioned that the mischievous and mala fide 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 neighbors.” He also apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the steps taken by him and the Lankan government to deny all these allegations publicly. The PMO statement added, “the President also stated that he regards the Prime Minister as a true friend of Sri Lanka, as 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 further strengthening them.” With this move the Sri Lankan government has ensured that the malicious and fake media leaks are not going to hamper the friendly relationship between the two countries.
The manner in which the Sri Lankan government has refuted these allegations has made it clear that there was not even an iota of truth in the reports. It seems that there was some sinister conspiracy to publish fake and malicious news in order to create a conflict between India and Sri Lanka and hamper the friendly relations between the two countries. The question that now arises is who can be behind these fake leaks? The immediate suspect has to be the Chinese intelligence agencies. Because the fact remains that China has its own vested interest in Sri Lanka and it must have been irked by the growing proximity between Sri Lanka and India. China had earlier enjoyed a free run under the friendly Rajpaksa regime but ever since President Sirisena stormed to power, he has worked towards decreasing the Chinese influence in his country. Only China stands to benefit greatly if tensions soared between New Delhi and Colombo.
Get real time updates about our posts directly on your device