COLOMBO, May 13, Reuter: Indian Defence Minister K.C. Pant will visit Sri Lanka within a week to discuss the phased withdrawal of Indian troops, a senior minister said on Friday.

Lands Development Minister, Gamini Dissanayake said India expected to pacify Tamil rebels by the end of May and would need fewer soldiers on the Island.

India says it has sent 50,000 troops to put down a Tamil separatist war in north and east Sri Lanka under a July, 1987, agreement with Colombo. Dissanayake, who met Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in New Delhi this week, said India had promised to bring peace to the northern and eastern provinces by end of this month. >

This would mean “that troops as of their present withdrawal according to agreed schedules,” he told a news conference.

“The timetable will be communicated to you after the visit of Pant because he’s coming here for that purpose,” he said.

Dissanayake declined to give further details.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 20, 1988