EAM Jaishankar and Sri Lankan Finance Minister held a virtual meeting
New Delhi, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar held a virtual meeting with Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa on January 15, and conveyed that India has always stood with Sri Lanka, and will continue to support Sri Lanka in all possible ways for overcoming the economic and other challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. As close friends and maritime neighbours, both India and Sri Lanka stand to gain from closer economic interlinkages.
The virtual interaction between the two leaders follows Finance Minister Rajapaksa’s visit to India last month.
During the interaction, the EAM conveyed greetings to the Sri Lankan Finance Minister and the Government and the people of Sri Lanka on his own behalf and on behalf of the Government and the people of India for the year 2022 and on the occasion of the festival of Pongal celebrated both in India and Sri Lanka.
Both Ministers positively noted that extension of US$400 million to Sri Lanka under the SAARC currency swap arrangement and deferral of A.C.U. settlement of US$515.2 million by two months, which would assist Sri Lanka.
The two leaders reviewed the progress in extending Indian credit facility of US$1 billion for importing food, essential items and medicine and US$500 million for importing fuel from India.
Rajapaksa recalled India’s longstanding cooperation with Sri Lanka and deeply appreciated the gestures of support. He welcomed Indian investments in Sri Lanka in a number of important spheres including ports, infrastructure, energy, renewable energy, power and manufacturing and assured that conducive environment will be provided to encourage such investments. In this context, both the Ministers noted that the recent steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka for jointly modernising Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms will boost confidence of investors, apart from enhancing Sri Lanka’s energy security.
The EAM brought up the issue of Indian fishermen detained in Sri Lanka. He urged the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure early release of the detained fishermen on humanitarian considerations.
The two Ministers agreed to remain in close touch for guiding mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation towards long-term economic partnership for shared progress and prosperity.