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India, Sri Lanka to boost joint economic projects, improve connectivity

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 08, 2020 Published on February 08, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa after a joint statement at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. - PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is currently touring India, discussed ways to boost joint economic projects and increase economic, trade and investment relations in a meeting on Saturday.

“We also talked about the need to step up people-to-people contact, encourage tourism between the two nations and improve connectivity,” Modi said in a press statement following his meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart. The two also discussed defence and maritime security cooperation and concerns in the area of terrorism.

Earlier in the day, Rajapaksa said in a tweet that he held broad ranging discussions focused on expediting ongoing projects and cooperation in a number of sectors such as tourism with Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, who called on him.

Touching on the sensitive issue of the situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka, Modi said that he was confident that the Sri Lankan government will realise expectations of Tamil people for equality, justice, peace within united Sri Lanka. “I am confident the government will work towards reconciliation,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister further said that India was a partner in Sri Lanka’s development efforts. “The Lines of Credit announced last year will further strengthen our developmental partnership,” he said adding that India was happy that more than 48,000 houses have already been constructed under the Indian Housing Project for displaced people in the Northern and Eastern regions.

On the plight of fishermen who are often arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, the Prime Minister said that the two leaders had decided to adopt humanitarian approach in dealing with issue of fishermen.

Rajapaksa, who is on a four-day visit to India, is scheduled to visit Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday where he will visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Sarnath Buddhist Temple.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had visited New Delhi in November 2019 soon after his election.

Published on February 08, 2020
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