Ahead of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s two-day visit to India beginning Friday, a news report claiming that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena had said India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) was trying to assassinate him has sparked a controversy. Both the Sri Lanka President’s office and the government have denied the report. On Wednesday evening, Sirisena called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “This evening, I had a very successful telephone conversation with the Indian Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi, who assured India’s fullest cooperation towards the development and prosperity of Sri Lanka,” he tweeted.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, “the President of Sri Lanka stated that he categorically rejected the reports in sections of 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.”
He mentioned that the “mischievous 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, according to the MEA statement. Modi, the MEA said, appreciated the prompt steps taken by the President and his government to firmly refute the “malicious reports” by publicly clarifying the matters.
The Hindu reported on Wednesday that Sirisena had accused the R&AW of plotting his assassination. At the weekly Cabinet meeting, Sirisena told ministers that the Indian intelligence agency was “trying to kill” him, but “Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not be aware of the plan”, the report said.
According to the report, Sirisena’s made the allegation while raising concerns over the Sri Lankan government’s “indifference” to an alleged plot to assassinate him. The Sri Lankan President’s media division, which denied the charge that Sirisena had accused R&AW, however confirmed that “in the said cabinet meeting yesterday, the discussions have taken place on the alleged plot to assassinate the President”