At the annual general meeting of FICCI last evening, the external affairs minister asserted that the country has been maintaining the kind of military deployment that is necessary for national security.
External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar will undertake an official visit to Sri Lanka from January 19-20, 2023.
During his visit, Jaishankar is scheduled to have official discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry and pay courtesy calls on President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minster Dinesh Gunawardena and other dignitaries, reported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka press release. Jaishankar will be accompanied by Joint Secretary (IOR) Puneet Agrawal, Director Sandeep Kumar Bayyappu, Deputy Secretary (Sri Lanka) Nidhi Choudhary and Deputy Secretary Raghoo Puri from the Ministry of External Affairs, India.
Regarding Sri Lanka’s tour, the Ministry of External Affairs stated that Jaishankar’s visit will follow his earlier trips to the bankrupt country in January 2021 and March 2022. Sri Lanka is a close friend and neighbour, and India has stood with the people of Sri Lanka at all times.
“During the visit, EAM will call on President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and also hold discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs MUM Ali Sabry on the entire gamut of close India-Sri Lanka partnership and steps to strengthen it in all spheres,” the statement stated.
India and Sri Lanka share a good relationship. Under the “Neighbourhood First Policy,” India had extended aid worth USD 3.9 billion to help Sri Lanka sustain itself in face of the acute economic and financial crisis and meet its immediate needs such as medicines, cooking gas, oil and food items, Sri Lanka based news publication News 19 reported.
In February 2022, India in order to help Sri Lanka overcome its fuel shortage, signed an agreement for the supply of petroleum products worth USD 500 million from the Indian Oil Company through a credit line.
This was expanded by an additional USD 200 million worth of petroleum products in April 2022.
India’s EXIM bank and State bank of India, for the import of essential commodities, extended export credit facilities worth USD 1,500 million to Sri Lanka. India also concluded a USD 400 million agreement with Sri Lanka to help preserve the country’s forex reserves.
Earlier Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe informed the parliament that talks with India and China on debt restructuring are successful.
“We are continuing discussions in that regard and I am pleased to announce to this House that the discussions are currently successful,” read Sri Lankan President Media Division press release.