(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar held a virtual meeting with Finance Minister of Sri Lanka Basil Rajapaksa Saturday (15th January).
The External Affairs Ministry said in a statement that the interaction followed Mr. Rajapaksa’s visit to India last month.
Indian Minister conveyed greetings to the Sri Lankan Finance Minister and the Government and the people of Sri Lanka on his own behalf and on behalf of the Government and the people of India for the year 2022 and on the occasion of the festival of Pongal celebrated both in India and Sri Lanka.
Dr. Jaishankar conveyed that India has always stood with Sri Lanka, and will continue to support Sri Lanka in all possible ways for overcoming the economic and other challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. As close friends and maritime neighbors, both India and Sri Lanka stand to gain from closer economic interlinkages.
.Both Ministers positively noted that extension of US$ 400 million to Sri Lanka under the SAARC currency swap arrangement and deferral of A.C.U. settlement of USD 515.2 million by two months, which would assist Sri Lanka.
The two Ministers reviewed the progress in extending Indian credit facility of USD 1 billion for importing food, essential items and medicine and USD 500 mn for importing fuel from India.
Mr. Rajapaksa recalled India’s longstanding cooperation with Sri Lanka and deeply appreciated the gestures of support. He welcomed Indian investments in Sri Lanka in a number of important spheres including ports, infrastructure, energy, renewable energy, power and manufacturing and assured that conducive environment will be provided to encourage such investments. In this context, both Ministers noted that the recent steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka for jointly modernizing Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms will boost confidence of investors, apart from enhancing Sri Lanka’s energy security.
Dr. Jaishankar brought up the issue of Indian fishermen detained in Sri Lanka. He urged the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure early release of the detained fishermen on humanitarian considerations.
The two Ministers agreed to remain in close touch for guiding mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation towards long-term economic partnership for shared progress and prosperity.