Colombo: Sri Lanka on Tuesday dismissed media reports about cancellation of its annual bilateral defence talks with India, where the government is facing pressure from Tamil Nadu-based political parties to vote in favour of the US-backed resolution against Colombo at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meet.

A government source said the talks will be held in Colombo from 23 to 25 March. However, the final dates are yet to be confirmed.

He said the official reason given by Indian authorities was that the Defence Minister was required to remain in New Delhi at the time to answer any queries in the Parliament. The Indian authorities came back with mid April dates which the Sri Lankans were not able to accommodate due to the long Sinhala/Tamil New Year recess.

The Indian media has reported that the annual defence talks would not take place for unknown reasons but hinted that the decision may have been taken in view of the current political heat generated in Tamil Nadu over the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva this week.

The DMK, a UPA ally, has been irked by continuous training provided in the state for Sri Lankan troops. This forced New Delhi to locate some of the training elsewhere. India, which voted in favour of the US moved resolution last year, has come under increasing pressure from Tamil Nadu to force America to make the new resolution more stronger.


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