Jaishankar: India will always be Lanka’s dependable partner

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Jaishankar’s visit underscores the central place that Sri Lanka occupies in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy and SAGAR Vision…reports Asian Lite News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has concluded his one-day official visit to Sri Lanka. He said that India will always be a “reliable friend and a dependable partner” for Sri Lanka. He also shared a video of glimpses of his visit to Sri Lanka.

In a post on X, Jaishankar stated, “Concluded a productive visit to Sri Lanka, my first in this new term. We will always be a reliable friend and a dependable partner for our Sri Lankan friends.”

His visit underscores the central place that Sri Lanka occupies in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy and SAGAR Vision, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) press release.

In a press release, the MEA stated, “The visit of the External Affairs Minister underscores the central place Sri Lanka occupies in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy and SAGAR Vision. Following Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and stabilization, forging deeper long-term economic cooperation was underlined as a priority for sustainable and equitable growth of Sri Lanka, and mutual prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region.”

It was S Jaishankar’s first bilateral visit as External Affairs Minister after his re-appointment. His visit to Colombo comes after Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recent visit to India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 9.

During his visit, Jaishankar called on Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Wickremesinghe received him at the President’s Office in a one-on-one meeting, followed by delegation-level talks that included Sri Lanka’s Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries, Mahinda Amaraweera, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry and Sri Lanka’s Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera.

Jaishankar also held meetings with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry. Jaishankar and Wickremesinghe jointly handed over 48 houses under the Model Village Housing Project in the Colombo and Trincomalee districts; and 106 houses under Phase III of the Indian Housing Project in the Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya districts. In the press release, MEA noted, “In the recent past, EAM visited Sri Lanka four times in January 2021, March 2022, January 2023 and October 2023.”

MEA stated, “In a testament to the comprehensive and people-centric nature of India-Sri Lanka development cooperation, President Wickremesinghe and EAM jointly handed over 48 houses under Model Village Housing Project in Colombo and Trincomalee districts; 106 houses under Phase III of the Indian Housing Project in Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya Districts. Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), a nerve centre for Search and Rescue operations at sea established with an Indian grant of USD 6 million was also jointly commissioned in the virtual ceremony.”

Regarding the discussions held between the Sri Lankan government’s leadership and Jaishankar, MEA stated, “Interaction of EAM with the leadership of the Government of Sri Lanka provided an opportunity to review and accelerate progress in the multifaceted India-Sri Lanka partnership. One of the key focus areas of discussion was the Vision Document adopted by President Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the former’s visit to India in July 2023.”

“Discussions added momentum to the ongoing projects as well as initiatives for promoting connectivity in all its dimensions, particularly in domains of energy, physical infrastructure as well as economic and people-to-people ties,” it added.

During his visit, Jaishankar also held separate meetings with Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, and leaders of the various political parties from the North, East and the upcountry region.

Sharing details regarding his meeting with Sajith Premadasa, he stated, “Nice to meet leader of opposition @sajithpremadasa and his delegation during my Sri Lanka visit. Thank GL Peiris, @EranWick, Niroshan Perera, Palini Thigambaram @Rauff_Hakeem and V Radhakrishnan for joining. Appreciate the bipartisan support for stronger India-Sri Lanka relationship. An insightful discussion on making our partnership even more robust.”

Jaishankar and Mahinda Rajapaksa discussed the current progress of bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

Taking to X, Jaishankar stated, “Glad to call on former President @PresRajapaksa

of Sri Lanka. Discussed the current progress of India-Sri Lanka bilateral cooperation. Appreciate his continued support.”

In a press release, MEA stated, “Across party lines, a stronger India-Sri Lanka partnership was seen as beneficial for continued growth and prosperity of the peoples of both countries.”

Jaishankar also interacted with the leadership of Indian-origin Tamils. After the meeting, EAM in a post on X wrote, “Interacted with leadership of Indian Origin Tamils. Thank @S_Thondaman, @JeevanThondaman, A. Aravindh Kumar, M Rameshwaran, V. Radhakrishnan, Velu Kumar, Udayakumar and Vadivel Suresh for joining. Discussed our development partnership and further cooperation in respect of IOTs.”

During his visit, Jaishankar also met an 8-member delegation of Tamil leaders from northern and eastern provinces.

Regarding his discussion with Tamil leaders, Jaishankar stated, “Good meeting with 8 member delegation of Tamil Leaders from Northern and Eastern Provinces. Thank @ShanakiyanR, @Mavai_S, @MASumanthiran, @ImShritharan, @SAdaikalanathan, Dharmalingam Sithadthan, @CWigneswaran and @skajendren for joining. Discussed issues pertaining to development & devolution in their provinces.” (ANI)

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