Jaishankar holds talks with Sri Lanka, discusses Indian projects to boost Lankan economy

In a virtual meeting with Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Jaishankar said that India will take up initiatives with other international partners, to support the island nation

Press Trust of India January 15, 2022 15:09:04 IST
Jaishankar holds talks with Sri Lanka, discusses Indian projects to boost Lankan economy

File image of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. PTI

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday held talks with Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and discussed projects and investment plans by India that would strengthen the economy of the island nation.

During the "detailed" virtual meeting, Jaishankar also raised the issue of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody and urged for their early release as a humanitarian gesture.

"Just concluded a detailed virtual meeting with Sri Lankan Finance Minister @RealBRajapaksa. Reaffirmed that India will be a steadfast and reliable partner of Sri Lanka," Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

"We positively noted the extension of the $400 million swap facility and the deferred ACU settlement of $515.2 million. Discussed the early realisation of $1 billion term loan facility for essential commodities and of $500 million LoC for fuel purchase," the external affairs minister said.

Jaishankar said he assured that India will take up with other international partners initiatives to support Sri Lanka at this important juncture. "Welcomed the progress on Trincomalee Tank Farm which will contribute to energy security," he said in another tweet.

"Considered projects and investment plans by India that would strengthen Sri Lankan economy," Jaishankar said, adding "Urged early release of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody as a humanitarian gesture." This interaction follows Rajapaksa's visit to India last month.

In a statement on the meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs said Jaishankar conveyed that India has always stood with Sri Lanka, and will continue to support Sri Lanka in all possible ways for overcoming the economic and other challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As close friends and maritime neighbours, both India and Sri Lanka stand to gain from closer economic interlinkages, the external affairs minister conveyed.

Both ministers positively noted that extension of $400 million to Sri Lanka under the SAARC currency swap arrangement and deferral of ACU settlement of $515.2 million by two months would assist Sri Lanka, the MEA said.

The two ministers reviewed the progress in extending the Indian credit facility of $1 billion for importing food, essential items and medicine and $500 mn for importing fuel from India. During the meeting, Rajapaksa recalled India's long-standing cooperation with Sri Lanka and deeply appreciated the gestures of support.

He welcomed Indian investments in Sri Lanka in a number of important spheres including ports, infrastructure, energy, renewable energy, power and manufacturing and assured that a conducive environment will be provided to encourage such investments.

In this context, both ministers noted that the recent steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka for jointly modernizing Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms will boost the confidence of investors, apart from enhancing Sri Lanka's energy security, the MEA said.

It said the two ministers agreed to remain in close touch for guiding mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation towards long-term economic partnership for shared progress and prosperity.

Jaishankar conveyed greetings to the Sri Lankan Finance Minister and the Government and the people of Sri Lanka on his own behalf and on behalf of the Government and the people of India for the year 2022 and on the occasion of the festival of Pongal celebrated both in India and Sri Lanka, the statement said.

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