“India will always be a dependable partner and reliable friend to Sri Lanka” says EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar

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Visiting Minister of External Affairs of India Dr. S.Jaishankar held bilateral talks with Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday and discussed multiple areas of bilateral cooperation was taken up, including economic, financial, trade and investment cooperation, cultural exchanges, defence and security, development cooperation as well as Covid 19 pandemic response.

Both sides agreed to continue the current momentum of deep engagement that reflects the readiness to bring prosperity for the peoples of both countries built upon the centuries old strong cultural bonds.

Sri Lanka thanked India for the tremendous assistance extended in kind to the health sector for the past several months since the emergence of Covid 19 pandemic.

Dr. Jaishankar conveyed India’s strong assurance that immediate neighbourhood remained an important priority in sharing Indian manufactured Covid vaccines.

India proposed to resume tourism and aviation activities with appropriate Covid 19 restrictions through the Travel Bubble Concept with a view to ensuring revitalization of economic activities. 

Foreign Minister Gunawardena invited substantial increases in Indian foreign direct investments in Sri Lanka, particularly in the proposed pharmaceutical and textiles manufacturing zones. He underlined the potential in other sectors for immediate investments such as ICT, hospitality and tourism, agriculture and food processing and construction and infrastructure.

While appreciating the enhanced Indian development cooperation through community development projects, Minister Gunawardena conveyed Sri Lanka’s keenness to implement the new initiatives in line with the government’s policy framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”. 

External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar assured that cognizant of the domestic priorities, India would continue to further strengthen cooperation in agriculture, animal husbandry, technology, education and skills development and urban development. He also conveyed India’s willingness to assist in establishing vocational training centres in Sri Lanka.

External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar, who held fruitful discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday morning, also met with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, prior to his departure for New Delhi, concluding a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka.