PM Modi announces $ 400 million line of credit to Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday said he would strive to take his country’s bilateral relationship with India to a “very high level”.
Speaking to reporters after a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, he said that both India and Sri Lanka need to work together on issues relating to security and overall welfare of the people of the two countries.
Rajapaksa arrived here on Thursday on a three-day visit, in his first overseas tour after taking over the reins of Sri Lanka 10 days back in reflection of importance he attaches to ties with India.
The Sri Lankan leader said his expectations from the visit was very high. “During my tenure as president, I want to bring the relationship between India and Sri Lanka to a very high level. We have a long-standing relationship historically as well as politically,” Rajapaksa said. Both the countries need to work together on key issues like security, economic development and welfare of the people of India and Sri Lanka, he said.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, November 29, 2019
“We need to work together for the benefit of the people of India and Sri Lanka,” Rajapaksa said in the presence of Prime Minister Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.
Fruitful talks, says PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajapaksa held talks covering the entire expanse of bilateral ties. Speaking after the meeting, PM Modi said, “It is matter of honour that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa decided to visit India after assuming charge of the country.”
He said that a stable Sri Lanka was interest of India and the entire Indian Ocean Region.
Commenting on the talks, Modi said,”We held very fruitful talks. I assured Sri Lankan president of India’s help in overall development of the country.”
He announced a line of credit of $ 400 million to boost the island nation’s development. He also announced $ 50 million to Sri Lanka to deal with security related issues. “We deliberated on dealing with challenge of terrorism,” Modi said.
Talking about the Tamils in the nation, Modi said that he was confident President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government would fulfil aspirations of the community.
Rajapaksa said that the focus of talks was on security cooperation and economic cooperation.
Range of issues discussed
Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Rajapaksa during which a range of bilateral and regional issues were discussed. A plethora of issues, including fulfilling the aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, situation in the Indian Ocean region and steps to boost trade and investment ties, are expected to figure in the talks between Modi and Rajapaksa.
Last week, India said it was looking forward to work closely with the new Sri Lankan government and hoped that it would be able to fulfil the aspirations of the Tamil community in that country.
Rajapaksa, a former Defence Secretary who is credited with ending the country’s long civil war, was sworn in as the island nation’s new president on November 18, a day after he won the closely fought presidential election in island nation. Three days later, he appointed his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.
Jaishankar had travelled to Colombo last week as a special envoy of Prime Minister Modi to convey his greetings to Rajapaksa.