EAM Dr S Jaishankar reaches crisis-hit Sri Lanka

EAM’s visit holds significance as the island nation is reeling from economic instability

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By: Urvashi Khona | NEW DELHI
Updated: 19 January, 2023 3:55 pm IST
Dr S Jaishankar reaches Sri Lanka on a two-day visit

Indian External Affairs minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is in Sri Lanka on a two-day visit starting January 19. This will be the first meeting of Dr Jaishankar after the formation of a new government in the island nation six months ago.

The visit holds significance as Sri Lanka is facing one of its worst economic crises since its independence. It heavily depends on India, China and Japan for its economic revival. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has also urged India and China to restructure their debt.

Recently, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the finance minister, said that his country has “successfully” completed its debt restructuring talks with India.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the visit aims to strengthen the India-Sri Lanka partnership in all spheres.

“EAM’s visit to Sri Lanka will follow his earlier visits to Sri Lanka 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,” MEA said.

During the visit, EAM will call on President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Dr Jaishankar will also hold discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs MUM Ali Sabry on the entire gamut of a close India-Sri Lanka partnership and steps to strengthen it in all spheres.

Highlighting the importance of friendly relations with Sri Lanka, MEA said, “Sri Lanka is India’s key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and ‘Neighbourhood First’. EAM’s visit is testimony to the importance that India attaches to its close and friendly relations with Sri Lanka.”

Commenting on Dr Jaishankar’s visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka stated, “During this visit, the Indian External Affairs Minister is scheduled to have an official discussion with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry and will make courtesy calls on President Ranil Wickremesinghe PM Dinesh Gunawardena and other dignitaries.”

“External Affairs Minister Dr 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,” the Lankan Foreign ministry said.

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