Onboard, Jan 19 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has said that Sri Lanka has paved the way for development as evident from Colombo's commitment on the rehabilitation, resettlement and the welfare of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) belonging to the ethnic Tamilian community.
Drawing parallels between his last two visits, Krishna said that there was considerable improvement in Sri Lanka and noted the people have bounced back after a torturous phase in their lives.
"As a country, as a whole, (Sri Lanka) is embarking on a developmental agenda. Well, for three decades, you know, they have gone through the worst of times and naturally the people and the governmental leaders are all looking forward to an era of peaceful development," he told mediapersons onboard the aircraft, while returning from Sri Lanka after his four-day visit to the Island nation.
Krishna formally handed over houses for the IDPs during his visit.
"See the housing programme, which is our flagship programme (in which) the thousand houses that have been built on a pilot basis and a large number of them have been completed. I handed over some of the houses to the prospective beneficiaries. I also distributed 10 000 cycles," he added.
He also handed over a school under a pilot project, which includes repairing of 79 war-damaged schools in the three districts of Kilinochchi, Mulaittivu and Vavuniya in Northern Province.
Besides these, Krishna handed over a fully equipped large hospital built with Indian aid at Kilinochchi.
Commenting on the Indian survivors in the cruise ship disaster off Italian coast, Krishna said that the government would aid and help them reach their respective destinations.
Nearly 15 Indian survivors of the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia in Italian waters arrived in New Delhi on Thursday to leave for their respective homes.
Eleven persons were confirmed dead and 22 are still missing when the 114,500 tonne Italian cruise ship struck a rock and sunk off the picturesque Tuscan island almost a week back.
"Well, you know they are being received at all the international airports. Arrangements have been made to take care of them and we will see to it that they reach their homes and they will be able to pursue their normal activities," said Krishna.
Responding to a question whether the relations between India and China are in troubled waters, especially in the wake of Indian traders being detained in China and reports surfacing that it did not grant a visa to a member of Indian defence delegation as he hailed from Arunachal Pradesh, Krishna said: "Well, you know, let us not be oversensitive about our relationship with China. I think, the relationship is on a very firm footing. We have a strategic relationship with them. We have a strategic partnership with them and India would like to have good bilateral relations with China." (ANI)
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