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Jaishankar meets Sri Lankan President, unveils Maritime Coordination Centre built with $6M grant from India

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe where they jointly unveiled the virtual plaque to mark the formal commissioning of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre built with a USD 6 million grant from India.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Colombo Updated on: June 20, 2024 16:25 IST
S Jaishankar meets Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo.
Image Source : @DRSJAISHANKAR/X S Jaishankar meets Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo.

Colombo: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday jointly commissioned the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre built with a USD 6 million grant from India, as New Delhi stepped up bilateral cooperation with its key neighbour. The minister also called on Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and reiterated India's strong support through development and connectivity initiatives.

Jaishankar, who met President Wickremesinghe in the national capital, said that he conveyed the warm greetings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the way forward for the bilateral cooperation, especially in power, energy, connectivity, port infrastructure, aviation, digital, health, food security, education and tourism sectors.

"Honoured to call on Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Conveyed the warm greetings of PM @narendramodi. Appreciated the progress made on various bilateral projects and initiatives," Jaishankar said in a post on X. "Under President @RW_UNP’s guidance, discussed the way forward for the India-Sri Lanka cooperation, especially in power, energy, connectivity, port infrastructure, aviation, digital, health, food security, education and tourism sectors.

Committed to working for the steady development of our traditionally close and friendly ties," said the minister who arrived here early Thursday, his first visit in his second consecutive term in office. The two leaders met at the Sri Lankan President's House, the President's Media Division (PMD) said. President Wickremesinghe and Jaishankar jointly unveiled the virtual plaque to mark the formal commissioning of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Sri Lanka under a USD 6 million grant from India. This includes a centre at Navy Headquarters in Colombo, a sub-centre in Hambantota and unmanned installations at Galle, Arugambay, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kallarawa, Point Pedro and Mollikulam.

"Joined Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Ministers and senior officials at the virtual commissioning of Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and virtual handing over of 154 houses under GOl housing schemes @RW_UNP," Jaishankar posted on X. "President @RW_UNP and Indian EAM @DrSJaishankar jointly unveiled the virtual plaque for 106 houses in Kandy, N'Eliya and Matale under the Indian Housing Project with 24 houses in each model village in Colombo & Trincomalee being handed over virtually," the PMD posted on X.

Later, Jaishankar called on Prime Minister Gunawardena and reiterated India’s strong support through development and connectivity initiatives. "Confident that our development assistance and capacity building programs will keep delivering for the aspirations of people of Sri Lanka," he said in a post on X. Jaishankar is also scheduled to discuss the progress of all ongoing Indian projects in Sri Lanka, officials said. He is also expected to discuss preliminary arrangements for a visit by Prime Minister Modi to the island. On his arrival here, Jaishankar was received by Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Senthil Thondaman, Governor of the Eastern Province.

"Landed in Colombo for my first visit in the new term. Thank Minister of State @TharakaBalasur1 and Governor of Eastern province @S_Thondaman for the warm welcome. Look forward to my meetings with the leadership," Jaishankar posted on X. Sri Lanka is central to India's Neighbourhood First and SAGAR policies, he wrote. Under its 'Neighbourhood First' policy, India is committed to developing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all its neighbours.

SAGAR or Security and Growth for All in the Region is India's vision and geopolitical framework of maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. The trip to Sri Lanka will be Jaishankar's standalone bilateral visit after he assumed charge as the external affairs minister for the second term on June 11. Jaishankar was last week part of Prime Minister Modi's delegation at the G7 Outreach summit in Italy's Apulia region. Sri Lankan President Wickremesinghe was among seven top leaders from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region who attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi and the Union Council of Ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 9.

The last time that Jaishankar was in Colombo was in October 2023 to participate in the 23rd Council of Ministers’ meeting and the 25th Committee of Senior Officials of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

(With inputs from agency)

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