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India-Sri Lanka Strengthen Ties with Vision for Economic Partnership and Connectivity

India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement to launch the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in Sri Lanka

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During President Wickremesinghe's Indian visit [Photo: Prime Minister of India]

In a significant step towards reinforcing their longstanding friendship and bilateral ties, Prime Minister of India warmly welcomed President Ranil Wickremesinghe and his delegation to India. The visit marks President Wickremesinghe’s one year in office, and on this occasion, Prime Minister extended heartfelt greetings on behalf of the Indian people.

Recognizing the challenges faced by Sri Lanka over the past year, India expressed unwavering support and solidarity with its close neighbor during these testing times. The historic and deep-rooted relations between the two nations form an integral part of India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy and its vision for “SAGAR” (Security and Growth for All in the Region).

During the visit, both leaders engaged in discussions on various bilateral, regional, and international issues, emphasizing the intertwined security interests and development goals of India and Sri Lanka. In a major stride towards enhancing economic ties, a vision document for Economic Partnership was adopted, aiming to strengthen maritime, air, energy, and people-to-people connectivity between the two countries.

This visionary partnership seeks to accelerate mutual cooperation in crucial sectors such as tourism, power, trade, higher education, and skill development, reflecting India’s long-term commitment to Sri Lanka. Both nations also decided to initiate talks on the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement, aimed at exploring new avenues for trade and economic cooperation.

To promote smoother mobility and bolster the exchange of business and people, India and Sri Lanka have agreed to increase air connectivity and launch Passenger Ferry Services between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka. Additionally, efforts will be expedited to connect the electricity grids of both countries, and feasibility studies will be conducted for a petroleum pipeline and a land bridge.

Emphasizing the importance of technology in modern economies, India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement to launch the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in Sri Lanka, enhancing fintech connectivity between the two nations.

Both leaders also addressed issues related to the livelihood of fishermen, affirming the need for a compassionate approach in resolving these matters. Discussions on reconstruction and reconciliation in Sri Lanka were also held, with President Wickremesinghe highlighting his inclusive approach and commitment to fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil community.

The year holds special significance for India-Sri Lanka relations, as the nations celebrate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties and commemorate 200 years since the arrival of the Indian-origin Tamil community in Sri Lanka. In celebration of these milestones, India announced various projects worth INR 75 crores for the Indian-origin Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka and pledged to contribute to development programs in the northern and eastern regions of the country.

Prime Minister reiterated India’s strong support for a stable, secure, and prosperous Sri Lanka, emphasizing that India stands with its neighbor in times of struggle. Both leaders expressed their commitment to working together in harmony, considering each other’s safety and sensitivities, to achieve shared goals and foster a stronger and enduring partnership in the Indian Ocean Region.

Based on the statement issued by Prime Minister of India

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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