Several agreements were signed between India and Sri Lanka in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Hyderabad House in Delhi on Friday.
Affirming that Sri Lanka is a "close friend" to India, PM Modi said that the security interests and development of both countries are intertwined. Wickremesinghe also underlined the importance of India's growth to the development of neighbouring countries and the Indian Ocean Region.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), both leaders acknowledged that the India-Sri Lanka partnership has been a source of strength in overcoming economic difficulties faced by Sri Lanka and the President of Sri Lanka specially appreciated India’s timely, unprecedented, and crucial support to the Government and the people of Sri Lanka.
"We hope that the Sri Lankan Govt will fulfill the aspirations of Tamils and take forward the process for equality, justice and peace," said PM Modi during the meet.
Top takeaways from PM Modi and Wickremesinghe's joint press meeting
- One of the agreements signed between India and Sri Lanka focuses on network-to-network agreements for UPI acceptance in Sri Lanka. The initiative will increase Fintech connectivity, said PM Modi.
- PM Modi also congratulated Ranil Wickremesinghe for completing one year as the President of Sri Lanka. "The people of Sri Lanka faced many challenges last year but like a close friend we stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Sri Lanka in the time of crisis," he added.
- PM Modi also announced that passenger ferry services between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Kankesanturai in Sri Lanka will be started to enhance air connectivity between India and Sri Lanka.
- Both leaders also discussed about the issues related to fishermen, agreeing to move forward with a "humane approach." "We also spoke about reconstruction and reconciliation in Sri Lanka....We hope it will fulfill its commitment to the implementation of the 13th Amendment and Provincial Council Elections," further said PM Modi.
- Both sides underlined cooperation in development of ports and logistics infrastructure at Colombo, Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai with an aim to consolidate regional logistics and shipping, according to MEA.
- They also agreed to undertake mutually agreed joint exploration and production of hydrocarbons in Sri Lanka’s offshore basins with an aim to develop Sri Lanka’s upstream petroleum sector.
- PM Modi and Wickremesinghe agreed to facilitate mutual investments through, inter alia, policy consistency, promoting ease of doing business and fair treatment of each other’s investors. Investments from India will be facilitated in the divestment of Sri Lankan State-owned Enterprises and in manufacturing/economic zones in various sectors in Sri Lanka.
- They also agreed on exploring cooperation between educational institutions on both sides including through establishment of new higher education and skilling campuses in Sri Lanka in accordance with Sri Lanka’s requirements and priorities.
- The leaders also agreed on the construction of multi-project petroleum pipeline from the southern part of India to Sri Lanka to ensure the availability of affordable and reliable energy resources to the latter country.
Wickremesinghe lauded PM Modi's efforts to enhance infrastructure and technological progress in ensuring growth and prosperity for Indian citizens. "We agreed that the economic and technology cooperation agreement between India-Sri Lanka is critical to enhance the bilateral trade and investment in new and priority areas," said Wickremesinghe during the press meet.
The Sri Lankan President also conveyed appreciation to PM Modi and the Indian government for the "solidarity and support" provided to the country during the economic, social and political challenges last year.
"We believe that India’s growth will be beneficial to the neighbouring countries and the Indian Ocean region," he added during the joint presser.
The Sri Lankan President also met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval before holding talks with PM Modi at Hyderabad House.
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday arrived in Delhi on a two-day official visit to India. He met Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V Muraleedharan and External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar yesterday.
He will meet President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhawan before his departure today.
Wickremesinghe is visiting India at the invitation of PM Modi. The visit will reinforce the longstanding friendship between the two countries and explore avenues for enhanced connectivity and mutually beneficial cooperation across sectors.
In the press release, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) noted, "Sri Lanka is an important partner in India’s Neighbourhood First Policy and Vision SAGAR. The visit will reinforce the longstanding friendship between the two countries and explore avenues for enhanced connectivity and mutually beneficial cooperation across sectors."
(with agency inputs)