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India announces $400 million line of credit for infrastructure in Sri Lanka

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on November 29, 2019 Published on November 29, 2019

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is welcomed by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on November 29, 2019   -  KAMAL NARANG

PM Modi, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa to work towards strengthening `multi-dimensional partnership’

India has announced a line of credit of $400 million for development projects in Sri Lanka and a $50 million fund to fight terrorism on Friday marking Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s two-day visit to the country.

“The $400 million line of credit to Sri Lanka will strengthen the country’s infrastructure development. I am confident that this will help boost Sri Lanka’s economy and the line of credit will also speed up mutually beneficial `project cooperation’ between the two nations,” Modi said in a statement after his bilateral meeting with Rajapaksa.

This is Rajapaksa’s first foreign visit after taking over as President of Sri Lanka on November 18 after winning a keenly fought national election. He is seen as being close to China and it is, therefore, strategically very important for India to have close ties with his government.

"I want to bring the relationship between India and Sri Lanka to a very high level," Rajapaksa told the media after his ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind and Modi on Friday.

Modi said that it was decided by the two leaders that the countries would work together to strengthen their multi-dimensional partnership and strong steps will be taken in the direction. “In line with my government’s `neighbourhood first’ policy and SAGAR doctrine, we give primacy to our relationship with Sri Lanka. That is why it is natural that we are concerned about each other’s defence and security needs and sensitivities,” he said, adding that India will be a partner in the country’s all-round development.

The Prime Minister also said that the two leaders had decided to utilise the $100 million credit line earlier announced for setting up solar projects in the country.

Modi expressed confidence that the new government would fulfill aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. 

 

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, November 29, 2019   -  Twitter/ @MEAIndia

 

PTI adds:

Fruitful talks, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajapaksa held talks covering the entire expanse of bilateral ties. Speaking after the meeting, PM Modi said, "It is matter of honour that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa decided to visit India after assuming charge of the country."

He said that a stable Sri Lanka was interest of India and the entire Indian Ocean Region.

Commenting on the talks, Modi said,"We held very fruitful talks. I assured Sri Lankan president of India’s help in overall development of the country."

He announced a line of credit of $ 400 million to boost the island nation's development. He also announced $ 50 million to Sri Lanka to deal with security related issues. "We deliberated on dealing with challenge of terrorism," Modi said.

Talking about the Tamils in the nation, Modi said that he was confident President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's government would fulfil aspirations of the community.

Rajapaksa said that the focus of talks was on security cooperation and economic cooperation.

Range of issues discussed

Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Rajapaksa during which a range of bilateral and regional issues were discussed. A plethora of issues, including fulfilling the aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, situation in the Indian Ocean region and steps to boost trade and investment ties, are expected to figure in the talks between Modi and Rajapaksa.

Last week, India said it was looking forward to work closely with the new Sri Lankan government and hoped that it would be able to fulfil the aspirations of the Tamil community in that country.

Rajapaksa, a former Defence Secretary who is credited with ending the country’s long civil war, was sworn in as the island nation’s new president on November 18, a day after he won the closely fought presidential election in island nation. Three days later, he appointed his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.

Jaishankar had travelled to Colombo last week as a special envoy of Prime Minister Modi to convey his greetings to Rajapaksa.

Published on November 29, 2019
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