India offers support to Sri Lanka to deal with 'Jihadi terror'

File photo: Security personnel are seen at the site of an overnight gun battle, between troops and suspected Islamist militants, on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India May 17, 2019, 10.46 PM (IST) Sidhant Sibal

India offered full support to Sri Lanka in dealing with the "common threat" of "Jihadi terrorism" in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday terror attack that killed over 250 people on April 21. 

The development comes in the backdrop of Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka's Taranjit Singh Sandhu's visit to Sri Dalada Maligawa temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The site is believed to house the relic of Lord Buddha's tooth.  

In a release, the Indian Mission in Sri Lanka said, "High Commissioner... discussed the prevailing security situation with the most venerable Mahanayake Theros and offered India’s full support to Sri Lanka in dealing with the common threat of Jihadi terrorism." 

The release further added, "Both the Mahanayake Theros deeply appreciated India’s unconditional and strong support for Sri Lanka including in the security sphere." 

This is for the first time that India has publically stated this even as Sri Lanka continues its crackdown on Islamic extremist groups in the aftermath of the Easter Day attacks.

During the visit, Sandhu met Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake Thero of Malwatte Chapter (Malwathu Maha Viharaya) and Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Mahanayake Thero of Asgiriya Chapter (Asgiri Maha Viharaya). A Mahanayaka Thero is a title to top ranking Buddhist monks in Theravada Buddhist countries. 

Malwathu Maha Viharaya and Asgiri Maha Viharaya are two Buddhist monasteries located in Kandy and are the headquarters of the Malwatta chapter and Asgiriya chapter of Siyam Nikaya, the two Buddhist monasteries that hold the custodianship of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha kept in Sri Dalada Maligawa.

Back in India, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had raided several places in Kerala and arrested a Riyas Aboobacker from Palakkad who was inspired by Sri Lanka terror attack mastermind Zahran Hashim. Riyas had planned to carry out suicide attacks in Kerala. 

Sri Lanka based terror outfit - National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) planned and perpetrated the Easter Day attacks. Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack. 

New Delhi had also given Sri Lanka prior intelligence of the terror attacks.

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This is for the first time that India has publically stated this even as Sri Lanka continues its crackdown on Islamic extremist groups in the aftermath of the Easter Day attacks.