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Jaishankar asks Lanka to release detained Indian fishermen

He was holding a virtual meeting with Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa. This interaction follows Rajapaksa’s visit to India last month.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar today asked Sri Lanka to ensure an early release of Indian fishermen detained in the island nation on humanitarian considerations.

He was holding a virtual meeting with Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa. This interaction follows Rajapaksa’s visit to India last month.

Jaishankar told the Lankan minister that India has always stood with the island country and would continue to support it in all possible ways for overcoming the economic and other challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. As close friends and maritime neighbours, both India and Sri Lanka stand to gain from closer economic inter-linkages, he said.

The two ministers positively noted the extension of $ 400 million to Sri Lanka under the SAARC currency swap arrangement and deferral of A.C.U. settlement of $ 515.2 million by two months, which would assist Lanka.

They also reviewed the progress in extending the Indian credit facility of USD 1 billion for importing food, essential items and medicine and $ 500 million for importing fuel from India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

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 modernising Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms would boost confidence of investors, apart from enhancing Sri Lanka’s energy security.

They also agreed to remain in close touch for guiding mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation towards long-term economic partnership for shared progress and prosperity.