Indian foreign minister visits Sri Lanka’s former war zone

November 27, 2010 (AFP) – India’s foreign minister visited Sri Lanka’s former war zone on Saturday after urging Colombo to share political power with minority Tamils following last year’s end to the ethnic conflict. Analysts have said New Delhi is concerned that a new port funded by Beijing is part of a Chinese policy to throw a geographical circle of influence around India.

However, Krishna on Friday played down concerns over China, which is building ports, highways and railroads in Sri Lanka. China has overtaken India and international institutions to become Sri Lanka’s top lender this year.

China is also developing port facilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan, and has plans for rail projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan officials said S.M. Krishna travelled to the northern peninsula of Jaffna to open a diplomatic office in an area where Tamil Tigers ran a de facto separate state between 1990 and 1995.

A Sri Lankan official said it was the first time that India was setting up a diplomatic presence in the former war zone and comes as New Delhi seeks to counter Beijing’s growing influence on the island.

The end to hostilities provides “a historic opportunity to address all outsta