Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Monday that it is for India and Sri Lanka to work together to strengthen the economic partnership and deepen the time-tested bilateral ties founded on the principles of mutual benefit, mutual understanding and a common purpose defined by good neighbourhoods. Working is important. relations.
Shringla, in his remarks at the inauguration of Indian development cooperation projects at Temple Trees, the official residence of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister here, said both India and Sri Lanka have seen major disruptions to their economies from the devastating devastation. coronavirus global pandemic.
“As we seek rapid socio-economic recovery for our respective countries, it is important to work together to strengthen our economic partnership and our times founded on the principles of mutual benefit, mutual understanding and a common purpose defined by good -The test is to deepen bilateral ties. Neighboring ties,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
“I would like to take this opportunity to state that we will leave no stone unturned on our part to minimize its adverse impact. COVID-19 Will stand with the Sri Lankan government in our socio-economic engagement with restrictions and post-COVID recovery efforts,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary, who arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday on a four-day visit, said that the Indian government will also cooperate in the development of facilities for tourists and pilgrims at sites connected with the Ramayana circuit in Sri Lanka.
Shringla said he was honored to attend the inauguration ceremony of Indian development projects in Sri Lanka.
“This is my first visit to Sri Lanka in my current capacity, but I have had the privilege of visiting Sri Lanka on several occasions in the past. During all these years, I have witnessed a vast transformation of our relationship.
“Yesterday, I had the privilege of going to Kandy to visit the Blessed Dalada Maligawa Temple. I also visited Trincomalee and Jaffna where I saw the Jaffna Cultural Centre, a prestigious project built with Indian grant-in-aid,” he said.
He said that these places clearly reflect the shared cultural heritage and strong bilateral development partnership of the two countries.
Shringla said that the high level visits, especially the state visits of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to India in November 2019 and February 2020 respectively, have given a new impetus to bilateral relations.
“The virtual bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in September 2020 was an important milestone as it provided a blueprint for the future development of our cooperation in areas such as defense and security, health, tourism, trade and commerce. prepared. People-to-people relations,” said the foreign secretary.
He said that over the past year, India has strengthened its reputation of being a net security provider and first responder to HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) situations in the wider Indian Ocean region.
India was pleased to respond to Sri Lanka’s requests in recent cases of fire and marine pollution in its waters, Shringla said, adding that the Indian Navy in August transferred its assets to Sri Lanka for the rapid delivery of medical grade oxygen to its COVID-19 assets. deployed to deal with -19 status.
“During the period of the COVID pandemic, India kept its airspace open for travel for specific and urgent medical needs of Sri Lanka.
“With the easing of the situation in Sri Lanka, it may be worthwhile for us to work on connectivity initiatives such as the Jaffna to Chennai flight, the ferry services between Karaikal and Kankesanthurai and Dhanushkodi and Talaimanar and the Buddhist corridor with the new international airport at Kushinagar. Is. ,” he said.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s office said Shringla told him that India was looking forward to receiving the first pilgrimage from Sri Lanka to Kushinagar airport, a request made by Prime Minister Modi during the bilateral virtual summit held last year.
The office said Sri Lanka was looking forward to resuming tourism with India as it has always been the island nation’s top tourism source.
In his remarks, Shringla said that in 2009, India started its housing project in Sri Lanka. Over time, the project has become an integral part of the bilateral development cooperation partnership.
“Today, we are dedicating 1,235 houses in the third phase of the Indian housing project, which is spread across the hill country,” he said.
In 2009, the Sri Lankan government ended the country’s civil war mainly in the north and east of the island nation with the assassination of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.