Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that when he first came to power he did send peace emissaries to Velupillai Prabhakaran and that he even volunteered himself to travel to the North and meet the leader of the LTTE terrorist organization.
“I sent messengers. I said if he (Prabhakaran) can’t come to Colombo I will come there. I offered myself to go to Kilinochchi to meet him. But he never agreed to that,” he said, in an interview with Strategic News International (SNI) in Delhi.
Responding to a question, the former President said that not only former Indian National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, but most of the people including the West were of the belief that the Sri Lankan government cannot win the war against the LTTE.
“I was confident because I was studying from the beginning. From the time they started it in the 70s. So I knew their mentality,” he said.
Rajapaksa is in India at the invitation of BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy to deliver a talk in Delhi. His visit has fuelled speculation about possible thaw between him and the current Indian government.
He admitted that the India-Sri Lanka relations during his time in power were easy during the war, but it became difficult during peace. “That is true I think. I don’t know why. Because last stages everything changed. Last years I would say. Otherwise they were helping us.”
Asked as to what he thinks went wrong between May and December 2014 that caused relations with India to sour, he said: “That I don’t know. I don’t want to comment about it because it is the past. So we must start a new chapter.”
When questioned about what he expects from India, during his visit, he said: “goodwill”.
Rajapaksa, who had previously accused India of interfering in Sri Lanka’s elections following his defeat at the 2015 presidential polls, said that he does not think India will do that again this time as “they must have something out of the last election results.”