India envoy to visit Sri Lanka for talks on ‘reconciliation’

March 6, 2010 (AFP) – India’s foreign secretary Nirupama Rao will hold talks with Sri Lanka’s president on resolving the grievances of the island’s Tamil minority this weekend, an official source said Saturday. India sent troops to supervise a 1987 Indo-Lanka peace pact and ended up fighting separatist Tamil rebels. After its troop withdrawal in March 1990, New Delhi adopted a hands-off policy towards its smaller neighbour.

But New Delhi lately has been nudging Colombo toward reconciliation between its Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority.

The foreign ministry here said Rao will also inaugurate an English Language Training Centre in central Sri Lanka set up with Indian help.

The cost of the centre has not been disclosed, but officials said it could accommodate 400 residential trainee teachers. The Sri Lankan education ministry will run the facility. New Delhi has been pushing for political power-sharing between Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese and the Tamils since Sri Lankan troops crushed Tamil Tiger rebels last May, ending a nearly four-decade-long civil war.

India, with its large Tamil population in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, shares close cultural and religious links wit