Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda met with the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of India Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi (March 21).
Minister Sitharaman and High Commissioner Moragoda also discussed the way forward in bilateral economic cooperation.
The ways and means to attract Indian investments to Sri Lanka, enhance bilateral trade, particularly through Indian Rupee trade expansion and increase the inflow of Indian tourists to Sri Lanka were explored and discussed.
This was the latest of a series of meetings High Commissioner Moragoda has had with Minister Sitharaman since November 2021 on Indian economic cooperation and assistance to Sri Lanka in the context of the present economic crisis.
At the outset, High Commissioner Moragoda thanked Minister Sitharaman for the leadership that the government of India took towards the realization of the International Monetary Fund’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) Arrangement for Sri Lanka.
He particularly thanked Minister Sitharaman for her personal involvement in taking up Sri Lanka’s case with bilateral development partners as well as multilateral financial agencies including the IMF in this context.
The Minister and the High Commissioner agreed that these measures could form part of Sri Lanka’s economic recovery.
High Commissioner Moragoda also presented Minister Sitharaman with a copy of the publication “Geoffrey Bawa; Drawing from the Archives”, which contains the drawings of Sri Lanka’s iconic architect the late Geoffrey Bawa.
The publication was presented to her as a memento to mark the opening of the two month- long exhibition “Geoffrey Bawa: It Is Essential To Be There” which was inaugurated by the External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S. Jaishankar on 17 March 2023 at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi.
Meanwhile India and Sri Lanka agreed to increase intensity of bilateral military exercises and vowed to avail maximum benefits from each other’s experience and capacities, a move that came amid China’s attempts to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean region.
The two sides reviewed their defence and security cooperation at the seventh India-Sri Lanka annual defence dialogue that took place in Delhi.
“During the meeting, the ongoing defence cooperation activities between the two countries were reviewed, with both sides agreeing to increase the complexity of bilateral exercises,” the defence ministry said.
The annual defence dialogue is the highest institutionalized interactive mechanism between both the countries.
“Its significance in chartering the future course of the relations between the armed forces of India and Sri Lanka was highlighted by the importance given to the talks by both sides,” the ministry said.
The defence ties between India and Sri Lanka have witnessed steady expansion.In August last, India handed the island nation a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft.
The aircraft was given to Sri Lanka from the inventory of the Indian Navy to help the country meet its immediate security requirement.
The Indian Navy has been supporting various capacity building measures of the Sri Lankan Navy including providing indigenously constructed Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).