Dr. S. Jaishankar’s visit to Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Dr. S. Jaishankar’s visit to Sri Lanka

22 January, 2023

External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S. Jaishankar concluded an official visit to Sri Lanka on Friday (January 20). During the visit, Minister Jaishankar held bilateral discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry, PC on January 19 and was hosted to dinner by the Foreign Minister.

On behalf of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, Minister Sabry conveyed his gratitude to his Indian counterpart for the significant assistance extended by India to Sri Lanka in the past year, of US$ 4 billion in credit lines as well as other in-kind assistance, when the country was going through its most serious economic crisis. 

Minister Sabry also appreciated India’s announcement, as the first country to officially back Sri Lanka’s IMF-led debt restructuring program by conveying financing assurances to the International Monetary Fund. 

The Indian Minister reiterated that the primary purpose of his visit to Colombo was to express India’s solidarity with Sri Lanka in difficult times in line with the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy of Prime Minister Modi. It was India’s intention to clear the way for Sri Lanka to move towards recovery and growth.

Bilateral discussions between the two Foreign Ministers and the delegations included Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane and Indian High Commissioner Gopal Bagley and focused on several areas of possible further collaboration for mutual benefit.

It was agreed that greater connectivity including through tourism would encourage enhanced people to people contact and economic activity. 

Sustainable energy security was identified by both sides as one of the most urgent upcoming challenges, and agreement was arrived at in principle for the need for a framework for cooperation for renewable energy. 

Foreign Minister Sabry said that India was one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Sri Lanka recognises that India’s growth would provide opportunities for Sri Lanka as India is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner, the largest source of inward tourism and one of the largest investors.

On the occasion of the visit, a number of important initiatives were concluded in the presence of President Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat. 

This included the signing of an Mou on Indian Grant Assistance for implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) which focused on socio-economic development, infrastructure in education, health and 2 community development sectors.