PGURUS scoop was discussed by PM Narendra Modi
PM Modi, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe hold talks
PGURUS scoop of Chinese Spy Ship in Hambantota was the center of the controversial point where Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickramasinghe was caught unaware. On July 21 there was a summit between the Indian and Sri Lankan sides held by PM Narendra Modi and Ranil Wickramasinghe.
To mark 200 years of the arrival of Tamils in Sri Lanka, Modi said projects worth Rs.75 crore will be implemented for the Indian-origin community. India will also contribute to development programs in Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern regions that have a sizeable Tamil population. Wickremesinghe said that he shared with PM Modi a proposal he presented to Sri Lanka’s Tamil leadership this week for furthering reconciliation and power-sharing.
“I have invited all party leaders in Parliament to work towards consensus and national unity on these measures. Thereafter, the government will place relevant legislation before Parliament,” he said, adding Modi “expressed solidarity and goodwill” for these steps.
However, Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has rejected the proposal as it envisages devolution with the “exception of police powers”. Tamil leaders have pointed out that provincial councils have been virtually defunct for five years.
When asked about these matters at a media briefing, foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said that India continues to back a political solution that addresses the aspirations of the Tamils for equality, justice, and self-respect within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. PM Modi raised these aspirations and emphasized that meaningful devolution of powers is essential for reconciliation, he added.
As part of maritime connectivity under the new economic partnership, the two sides will resume passenger ferry services between Nagapattinam in India and Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka and work for the resumption of similar services between Rameshwaram and Talaimannar. They will cooperate to develop ports and logistics at Colombo, Trincomalee, and Kankesanthurai.
Following the resumption of flights between Jaffna and Chennai, the two sides will increase flights to Colombo and explore connectivity between Chennai and Trincomalee, Batticaloa, and other destinations in Sri Lanka.
PM Modi’s speech at the press meet after bilateral talks with Sri Lankan President
Ayubowan! Vanakkam! I warmly welcome President Wickremesinghe and his delegation to India. Today, President Wickremesinghe is completing one year in office. On this occasion, on behalf of all of us, I convey my heartiest greetings to him. The past year has been full of challenges for the people of Sri Lanka. As close friends, like always, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Sri Lanka in this hour of crisis. I heartily congratulate the people of Sri Lanka for the courage with which they faced these challenging circumstances.
Our ties are as ancient and extensive as our civilizations. Sri Lanka has an important place in both, India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy and “SAGAR” vision. Today we shared our views on bilateral, regional, and international issues. We believe that the security interests and development of India and Sri Lanka are intertwined. And therefore, it is essential that we work together keeping in mind each other’s safety and sensitivities.
Today we have adopted a vision document for our Economic Partnership. This vision is to strengthen Maritime, Air, Energy, and people-to-people connectivity between the people of both countries. The vision is to accelerate mutual cooperation in tourism, power, trade, higher education, and skill development. This is the vision – of India’s long-term commitment to Sri Lanka.
We have decided that talks on the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement will be started soon. This will open new possibilities for trade and economic cooperation for both countries. We agreed to enhance air connectivity between India and Sri Lanka. To increase business and the movement of people, it has also been decided to start Passenger Ferry Services between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka. We have decided that the work of connecting the electricity grids between the two countries will be expedited. The feasibility study will be done for the petroleum pipeline between India and Sri Lanka. Apart from this, it was also decided to check the feasibility of a land bridge. Fintech connectivity will also increase with the agreement signed today to launch UPI in Sri Lanka.
Today we also discussed the issues related to the livelihood of fishermen. We agree that we should proceed with a humane approach in this matter. We also talked about reconstruction and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. President Wickremesinghe told me about his inclusive approach. We hope that the Government of Sri Lanka will fulfill the aspirations of the Tamils. Will drive the process of rebuilding for equality, justice, and peace. Will fulfill its commitment to implement the Thirteenth Amendment and conduct the Provincial Council Elections, and will ensure a life of respect and dignity for the Tamil community of Sri Lanka.
Friends, this year holds special significance for our bilateral relations. We are celebrating the 75th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. Also, the Tamil community of Indian origin is completing 200 years of their arrival in Sri Lanka. I am happy to say, that on this occasion, various projects worth Rs.75 crore will be implemented for Indian-origin Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka. In addition, India will also contribute to the development programs in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka. Excellency, a stable, secure, and prosperous Sri Lanka is not only in India’s interest but in the interest of the entire Indian Ocean region. I assure once again, that the people of India are with the people of Sri Lanka in this hour of struggle.
Sr. No. MoUs/ Agreement exchanged by a Representative from the Indian side and a Representative from the Sri Lankan side:
- Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) in the field of Animal Husbandry and Dairying Ms. Alka Upadhyaya, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying Mr. Milinda Moragoda, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India.
- MoU on cooperation in the field of renewable energy Shri. Gopal Baglay, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Mr. Milinda Moragoda, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India.
- Memorandum of Cooperation for economic development projects in Trincomalee district of Sri Lanka Shri. Gopal Baglay, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Mr. Milinda Moragoda, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India.
- Network to Network Agreement between NIPL and Lanka Pay for UPI application acceptance in Sri Lanka Shri. Gopal Baglay, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Mr. Milinda Moragoda, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India.
- Energy Permit for Sampur Solar Power Project Shri. Gopal Baglay, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Mr. Milinda Moragoda, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India
India-Sri Lanka Economic Partnership vision
India and Sri Lanka on Friday unveiled a new economic partnership for maritime, air, energy, and financial connectivity, including the use of India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system, even as New Delhi pressed Colombo on a political solution to fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil minority.
The India-Sri Lanka Economic Partnership Vision, issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ranil Wickremesinghe, includes a power grid interconnection for electricity trade, construction of a petroleum pipeline, a feasibility study for land connectivity, and resumption of talks on an Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement to replace an existing trade deal.
Following an agreement between India’s NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL) and Lanka Pay, UPI is set to be accepted in Sri Lanka after the completion of certain processes in the next two to three months. As a follow-up to the 2022 deal on the Trincomalee oil tank farms, the two sides signed an agreement to develop the facility as a regional hub of industry and energy.
Participating in a media interaction with Wickremesinghe, Modi said Sri Lanka has a key place in India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy and SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) vision. Referring to the unprecedented economic crisis that hit Sri Lanka over the past year, he noted that India stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the island nation in its hour of crisis.
“We believe the security interests and development of India and Sri Lanka are intertwined and therefore, it is essential that we work together keeping in mind each other’s safety and sensitivities,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi. The remarks were seen as an apparent reference to bilateral ties being hit last year by Sri Lanka’s decision to allow a visit to Hambantota port by a Chinese surveillance vessel. “A stable, secure, and prosperous Sri Lanka is not only in India’s interest but in the interest of the entire Indian Ocean region,” he added.
Wickremesinghe expressed “profound appreciation” for India’s support during the economic downturn. India extended economic support worth almost $4 billion to help Sri Lanka tide over the crisis.
Besides strengthening connectivity in different spheres, the new economic partnership reflects India’s long-term commitment to Sri Lanka and will accelerate cooperation in tourism, power, trade, and education, Modi said.
Modi expressed the hope that Sri Lanka’s government will fulfill the aspirations of the island nation’s Tamil minority and “drive the process of rebuilding for equality, justice, and peace”. He called on Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitment to implement the 13th constitutional amendment, conduct elections to provincial councils and ensure a “life of respect and dignity” for the Tamils.
In the field of energy connectivity, the proposed high-capacity power grid interconnection will enable bidirectional electricity trade between Sri Lanka and other regional countries. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation on renewable energy will facilitate the development of offshore wind and solar in Sri Lanka.
The two sides will work towards the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) to enhance bilateral trade and investments in new areas.
Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary:
Special briefing relating to the ongoing visit of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe to India. President of Sri Lanka Excellency Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived last evening and is set to depart from Delhi later this evening. His program in Delhi since his arrival yesterday has included a call on by Dr. Jaishankar last evening, a call on by the National Security Advisor earlier this morning, and had restricted and delegation levels discussion with the Honorable Prime Minister, which concluded just a little while ago, which was followed by one-to-one lunch between the two leaders. Excellency, the President of Sri Lanka will be calling on the Honorable President of India later this afternoon before his departure from India for his return to Sri Lanka.
In terms of the substance of the discussions and the outcomes which resulted from the visit you would have all hopefully watched the deliberations relating to the exchange of agreements and also the press remarks by the two Leaders thereafter. The Honorable Prime Minister and President of Sri Lanka during their discussions reviewed the entire spectrum of our bilateral relations and both acknowledged that the partnership and our cooperation have been a source of great strength in overcoming the recent difficulties and challenges in Sri Lanka. They also outlined…the two leaders also outlined a common vision of theirs to further develop the bilateral relationship in coming years, centered around enhanced extended and deepened connectivity and deeper economic partnership.
The essence of specifics of the vision of the connectivity-related future partnership is captured and reflected in a comprehensive joint vision document which is centered on connectivity that both the Leaders have agreed upon and it covers various dimensions of connectivity, maritime, air connectivity, energy connectivity, power trade and economic connectivity, financial connectivity, digital connectivity and also resulting people-to-people engagement. The document is available in the public domain and we would encourage our friends from the media to refer to this document for more specifics of the vision that the two Leaders have in structuring the India-Sri Lanka partnership based on that.
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2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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