External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar held a virtual meeting with Finance Minister of Sri Lanka Basil Rajapaksa on January 15, 2022, where both sides exchanged New Year greetings and conveyed wishes on the festival of Pongal celebrated both in India and Sri Lanka.
Furthermore, to help Sri Lanka overcome its economic challenges, India under the SAARC currency swap arrangement has made an extension of USD 400 million to Sri Lanka and provided a deferral of ACU (Asian Clearing Union) settlement of USD 515.2 million by two months, said the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.
The two Ministers also reviewed the progress in extending the Indian credit facility of USD 1 billion for importing food, essential items and medicine and USD 500 mn for importing fuel from India.
The EAM also brought up the issue of Indian fishermen detained in Sri Lanka. He urged the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the early release of the detained fishermen on humanitarian considerations.
Jaishankar, during the meet, said, that India will continue to extend a helping hand to Sri Lanka amid these tough times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Dr 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 COVID-19 pandemic. As close friends and maritime neighbours, both India and Sri Lanka stand to gain from closer economic interlinkages.”, said the statement.
Notably, this meet is followed by Rajapaksa’s visit to India last month.
The Ministry in the statement also said, “Mr Rajapaksa recalled India’s longstanding 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.”
As per the statement by MEA, 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.