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President highlights the urgency to expedite joint initiatives with Indian Investors

By: Staff Writer

June 24, Colombo (LNW): President Ranil Wickremesinghe reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to a robust partnership with India to achieve the development goals, highlighting the urgency to expedite joint initiatives.

Speaking at the 31st All India Partner’s Meet 2024 (AIPM 2024) held at ITC Ratnadeepa in Colombo over the weekend, the President outlined a transformative agenda focused on bilateral projects, particularly in the energy sector, to foster development in the Northern region affected by decades of conflict.

The AIPM 2024, organised by KPMG Sri Lanka and KPMG India, provided a platform for reaffirming collaborative projects aimed at redefining bilateral relations and driving socio-economic growth. The event, attended by over 600 Indian Partners and their families, celebrated past achievements and discussed future plans.

President Wickremesinghe acknowledged India’s crucial US $ 3.5 billion loan that helped Sri Lanka navigate two difficult years, underscoring plans to repay the debt, including the $ 200 million loan from Bangladesh.

Highlighting the recent successful IMF Board of Directors meeting, President Wickremesinghe announced ongoing preparations to meet with creditor nations, including the Paris Club, India, and China’s Exim Bank. ”We hope to conclude discussions and move from bankruptcy to the next phase of economic recovery soon,” he stated.

The President emphasised a shift towards a competitive, export-oriented economy. ”We are enacting legislative economic policies to steer this transition, aiming for a digital, green, and export-oriented economy,” he said, adding that the Economic Transformation Bill, currently under pre-legislative scrutiny, outlines these policies and establishes new institutions to drive investment and productivity.

During his recent visit to Delhi, Wickremesinghe discussed accelerating joint programs with Prime Minister Modi, focusing on key projects. These include the grid interconnection between Sri Lanka and India for sustainable energy transmission, the Sampur solar power project, and large-scale renewable energy projects in the Northern Province.

“Developing the Northern Province, worst affected by the wars, through these energy projects is a priority,” he stated. Discussions also covered expanding the Kankesanthurai port and airport development in collaboration with India.

In the dairy sector, the National Livestock Development Board of Sri Lanka is collaborating with India’s Amul Dairy Company to enhance liquid milk production.

President Wickremesinghe also highlighted discussions on land connectivity between Sri Lanka and India, expediting the Trincomalee Development Project, and constructing a multi-product oil pipeline from Nagapattinam to Trincomalee, aiming to transform Trincomalee Port into a significant hub on the Bay of Bengal.

 “The entire East Coast is being opened up for tourism, with plans for more investment zones and professional training programs in collaboration with India,” he added.

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