Monday, June 17, 2024

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Indian Foreign Minister pledges support for SLs economic stability

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar assured the support of the Government of India to ensure economic stability in Sri Lanka and reiterated that India understands the real issues of Sri Lanka being a close neighbour.

The Indo-Lanka Foreign Ministers also witnessed the signing of seven more instruments between agencies of both countries which are expected to intensify cooperation in the fields of education, culture, security, power, fisheries, and technology

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, who was on a three-day official visit to attend the 5th BIMSTEC Summit in Colombo, called on the Foreign Affairs Minister Prof. G.L Peiris.

Capitalising on the opportunity on the sidelines of the summit, the two Ministers reviewed the broad spectrum of political, economic, social, and cultural ties between Colombo and New Delhi that inextricably intertwined the two nations from time immemorial.

The two leaders who took stock of the ties expressed satisfaction over the ever-growing two-way bond and resolved to explore ways and means to further elevate the robust relations that both nations enjoy.

Minister Peiris briefed Indian Minister Dr. Jaishankar on the successful discussion the President of Sri Lanka and the Government had with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) last week during which the President had acknowledged the concerns of the people of the North and East in terms of reconciliation.

Minister Jaishankar welcomed the positive developments that the Government of Sri Lanka has made towards resolving issues concerning Tamils in Sri Lanka and achieving long-lasting solutions.

Prof. Peiris stressed the importance of maintaining high-level engagements in a consistent manner and expressed that the relations between the two countries are mutually rewarding.

Dr. Jaishankar while thanking Sri Lanka for organising the BIMSTEC Summit amid many challenges, expressed hope that the forthcoming Summit will be a productive one.

India also relies considerably on Colombo port for global trade given it is a transhipment hub. 60% of India’s trans-shipment cargo is handled by the port. India-linked cargo, in turn, accounts for 70% of the port’s total trans-shipment volume.India has traditionally been among Sri Lanka’s largest trade partners.

The main investments from India are in the areas of petroleum retail, tourism and hotel, manufacturing, real estate, telecommunication, banking and financial services.

A number of leading companies from India have invested and established their presence in Sri Lanka. These include Indian Oil, Airtel, Taj Hotels, Dabur, Ashok Leyland, Tata Communications, Asian Paints, SBI and ICICI Bank.

Although Sri Lanka holds minor importance to India in terms of trade, it is a geopolitically important country and India needs to counter the growing Chinese influence on its economy.

At $4.8 billion, India’s annual exports to Sri Lanka accounted for just 1.3% of India’s total exports. Sri Lanka’s share in India’s total imports was just 0.16%.

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