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“India marching towards economic glory”: Sri Lanka FM sees mutual benefits

May 21, 2024 3:52 PM IST

Lauding the burgeoning ties between Colombo and New Delhi, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said on Monday that India’s march towards economic glory is beneficial not only for the Southeast region but also for countries like Sri Lanka.

Sabry said that Sri Lanka is looking at significant investments in ports, renewable energy, and other infrastructure, which will create a win-win situation for both nations.

Highlighting the civilizational ties between the countries, Sabry said that all communities in Sri Lanka are influenced by Indian civilization.

In terms of connectivity, the foreign minister said that both nations are currently assessing its feasibility. He mentioned that more flight services have started between the two nations and they are excited about the launch of ferry services.

The ferry service between Nagapattinam in India and Kankesanthurai (KKS) near Jaffna is a high-speed ferry operated by the Shipping Corporation of India with a capacity of 150 passengers. The distance of about 110km between Nagapattinam and Kankesanthurai will be covered in approximately 3.5 hours, depending on sea conditions, according to the MEA.

The Indian government collaborated with the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board to upgrade facilities at the Nagapattinam port, a move aimed at kickstarting the ferry service, while the Sri Lankan government undertook the necessary infrastructure development at the KKS port.

Addressing India’s security concerns, Sabry affirmed his country’s commitment to safeguarding India’s national security interests, stating that Colombo, as a responsible neighbour, will not allow anyone to harm India’s security.

Last year, India had expressed its security concerns over the docking of the vessel at the Sri Lankan port as it was shown as a research vessel with the capability of mapping the ocean bed, which is critical to anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy. The Chinese research ship had docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port.

Sabry also expressed his country’s keenness to join the BRIC, saying that Sri Lanka would reach out first to India whenever it formally applies to join the BRICS grouping.

In January, Russia took over the chairmanship of BRICS, an intergovernmental organisation that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, plus four new members: Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates.

When asked about potential high-level visits from India, the Sri Lankan minister said that following President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recent visit to India, they are now preparing to host the Indian Prime Minister and a high-level delegation in Sri Lanka.

At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited India on an official trip in July last year, marking his first official visit to India since assuming office.

During his visit, President Wickremesinghe met President Droupadi Murmu and held discussions with the Prime Minister and other Indian dignitaries on a range of issues of mutual interest.

Sri Lanka is an important partner in India’s Neighbourhood First Policy and Vision SAGAR. The visit reinforced the longstanding friendship between the two countries and explored avenues for enhanced connectivity and mutually beneficial cooperation across sectors.

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Last updated on: 19th June 2024