India, Sri Lanka discuss multiple business proposals

New Delhi, Jan 6 (UNI) India and Sri Lanka on Wednesday discussed multiple proposals in infrastructure, connectivity, energy, pharma and tourism that would accelerate the island-nation’s economic recovery.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who held talks with Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, said the Indian economy has shown strong signs of recovery in the last few months and the development would have a positive impact on Sri Lanka.
Stressing that India is a reliable development partner of Sri Lanka, he said: “I carry the message of an India that will always be a dependable partner and reliable friend, open to strengthening its relationship with Sri Lanka on the basis of mutual trust, mutual interest, mutual respect and mutual sensitivity.”
Jaishankar said Indian businesses are interested in investing in Sri Lanka and added that delegations discussed opportunities such as in special zones for pharmaceutical manufacturing and tourism.
“Our Lines of Credit have re-built connectivity, facilitating the restoration of normalcy. We are cognizant of the domestic priorities of the Sri Lankan Government, including in agriculture and technology, education and skill development, and urban development,” he added.
Jaishankar will interact with the business community during his three-day visit.
The EAM also called on President Gotabaya Rajapakse and discussed cooperation for post-Covid health and economic recovery.
Gunawardena conveyed Sri Lanka’s profound gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian government and to the External Affairs Minister for the tremendous support India extended in these past several months to mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic.
“The Indian government’s neighborhood first policy made a very positive impact on our health sector in a critical and unprecedented crisis,” he said.
The Sri Lankan delegation sought India’s partnership in economic revival, stability through enhanced investment in different sectors of the economy.
“We discussed defence and security matters as well as issues related to the maritime and fisheries sectors. Agreed to continue our current momentum in these areas, and also to curb illegal activities with continued cooperation,” Gunawardena said.
He commended India’s offer of USD 15 million to restore Buddhist heritage in addition to other support announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the virtual summit with the premier Mahinda Rajapaksa in September.
The Jaffna Cultural centre built at a cost of USD 11 million from India will be soon declared open as the countries agree on the dates, he said.


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