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EAM S Jaishankar Embarks On 5-day Visit To Maldives, Sri Lanka

| Updated : March 26, 2022, 3:48 pm
Updated : March 26, 2022, 3:48 pm

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NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will embark on a five-day visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka starting Saturday. In Sri Lanka, he will participate in BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on March 29.

 

During first leg of visit to Addu city in Maldives on March 26 and March 27, EAM Jaishankar will call on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and hold discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

 


“EAM’s visit will see the signing of several agreements related to the bilateral development cooperation, inauguration/handing-over and launch of a number of key India-supported projects that will contribute to the socio-economic development of the Maldives and enhance its security,” it said.

 

From Maldives, the external affairs minister will reach Sri Lanka where he will participate in BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Ministerial Meeting on March 29 in Colombo.

 

“The bilateral meetings and interactions which EAM will have in Sri Lanka highlight the priority that Sri Lanka occupies for India,” the MEA said.

 

EAM Jaishankar’s visit follows the visits to India by Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa in December 2021 and earlier this month and that of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris in February 2022.

 

“Both Maldives and Sri Lanka are India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and occupy a special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security And Growth for All in the Region) and Neighbourhood First, ” the ministry said.

 

“EAM’s visit is testimony to the importance that India attaches to its close and friendly relations with the Maldives and Sri Lanka,” it added.

 

Maldives recently said that it is committed to ‘Indian First’ policy and expressed gratitude to India for providing medicines and vaccines during Covid pandemic.

 

“In the last two years, India has generously aided us on many occasions. India donated the most number of vaccines. India purchased financial bonds worth USD 250 million to help recover our economy,” Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed said on March 13.

 

During his visit to Maldives, EAM Jaishankar is expected to sign a series of agreements related to the bilateral development cooperation, inauguration/handing-over and launch of a number of key India-supported projects that will contribute to the socio-economic development of the archipelago nation.

 

Following the Sri Lanka finance minister’s visit, India announced a $1 billion line of credit to Sri Lanka to procure essential items including food and medicine earlier this month.

 

At a time when China is vying for its prominence in the South Asian region, India also pushed Colombo for finalizing the connectivity projects in Palaly and Kankesanthurai. The two states are also in talks to resume the ferry service, identifying a new route between Talaimannar in north-western Sri Lanka and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.


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