(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –India’s development assistance to Sri Lanka stands at over USD 5 billion
A team of top Indian government officials led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra was in Colombo on Thursday for extensive discussions with the Sri Lankan leadership as the island nation deals with its worst economic crisis in decades.
Foreign Secretary Kwatra met Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was accompanied by Secretary Department of Economic Affairs Ajay Seth, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswara, and Joint Secretary, Indian Ocean Region, Ministry of External Affairs Kartik Pande.
During the meeting with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, they disscussed Sri Lanka’s economic situation & highlighted India’s continuing support and assistance to the people of Sri Lanka.
According to the Indian High Commission, the two sides had an in-depth discussion on the Sri Lankan economy and efforts undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka towards achieving economic recovery.
In this context, both sides highlighted the importance of promoting the India-Sri Lanka investment partnership including in the fields of infrastructure, connectivity, renewable energy and deepening economic linkages between the two countries.
The Indian delegation underscored that the unprecedented recent economic, financial and humanitarian assistance of over US$ 3.5 billion to the people of Sri Lanka was guided by ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian High Commission said.
During the call on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Indian side thanked the President of Sri Lanka for his commitment to the development of India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. Both sides had a productive exchange of views on the current economic situation in Sri Lanka as well as India’s ongoing support.
“Met with @AmbVMKwatra, the Foreign Secretary of #India. On behalf of all #SriLankans I thanked PM @narendramodi, the govt & people of India for their continued friendship during these difficult times. Our discussions centered around the steps taken to stabilize the #lka economy,” the Sri Lankan President tweeted after meeting the Indian Foreign Secretary.
Foreign Secretary Kwatra also met his Sri Lankan counterpart, Ambassador Aruni Wijewardena. They agreed to work in close coordination towards strengthening diplomatic engagement and undertaking a bilateral visit at an early date.
The development assistance extended by India stands at over USD 5 billion with more than USD 600 million being in grants, which include the Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity Project. India continues to be the largest source of tourism for Sri Lanka, the High Commission pointed out.
The Sri Lankan side appreciated the consistent support of the Government and people of India over the past few years in a variety of fields such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, disaster management, humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, commercial engagement and people-to-people ties.
Sri Lanka also welcomed the support extended by India during the meetings at the IMF in March this year and on subsequent occasions in different forums including regional and plurilateral organizations.
“They further acknowledged the initiatives taken by the Indian leadership in encouraging other countries to support Sri Lanka in dealing with the post-COVID normalization of economic activity,” the High Commission said.
(India News Network)