Sri Lanka is planning to expand its diplomatic presence in India by revamping its consulates and adding more officials to its offices in the country, with the Cabinet approving a proposal in this regard.
The Cabinet has approved a proposal by the Minister of External Affairs G. L. Pieris to expand Sri Lanka’s diplomatic and consular representations in India in an “expansion of the existing missions in India to suit the present day needs”.
Accordingly, the Deputy High Commission in Chennai will have two additional Tamil-speaking officers from the public service.
A senior Sri Lankan overseas service officer would head the Consulate General in Mumbai and a middle-ranking officer from the Department of Commerce would also be posted there.
An additional post at the High Commission in New Delhi would exclusively deal with Sri Lanka’s bilateral, economic, investment and trade relations with India.
A new Consulate General office in Kolkata will have the staff strength of a Consular General, a personal assistant, a Sri Lanka foreign service officer and an Attache.
The position of public management assistant would have Consular jurisdiction over the States of West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and the North-Eastern States.
The appointment of Honorary Consuls for Sri Lanka in Hyderabad, Lucknow and Thiruvananthapuram are also part of the revamp of the diplomatic presence in India, officials said.
Sri Lanka’s relations with India plummeted to a low when India voted in favour of the US moved resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council last March.
Sri Lanka was banking on Indian support to thwart the US move which called for accountability over alleged rights abuses during the last phase of the military conflict with the LTTE.
Despite the vote, the bilateral relations with India have moved on with regular visits by Indian dignitaries to Colombo, which included a senior parliamentary delegation in April and the India trade show held last month.
Keywords: Sri Lanka diplomatic presence, Sri Lanka to expand missions in India, Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs, G. L. Pieris, Deputy High Commission in Chennai, Consulate General in Mumbai, Honorary Consuls for Sri Lanka