As India moves from strength to strength in its policy of Neighbourhood First, External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, delivered a video message at the Sri Lankan Parliament today laying emphasis on the strong ties between India and Sri Lanka. The address was played in the presence of Speaker of Sri Lanka’s Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and members of India Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association. The Minister’s address focussed on shared values, economic cooperation, and regional security between the two countries. Dr. Jaishankar stressed the need to enhance ties in maritime, air, energy, trade, investment, and digital domains, while also emphasizing the shared cultural, historical, and people-to-people connections.
Acknowledging India’s interest in Sri Lanka’s development and stability, the Minister recalled India’s swift and substantial response to the economic crisis faced by Sri Lanka last year. India’s commitment of USD 4 billion for assistance marked the largest of its kind, showcasing the significance of the Neighbourhood First policy.The address also revealed India’s intent to contribute to Sri Lanka’s long-term solutions, focusing on energy collaboration through grid connectivity and a Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants pipeline.
Dr. Jaishankar emphasized that such initiatives would bolster energy security for Sri Lanka and create a potential revenue stream. Dr. Jaishankar acknowledged Indian companies as significant investors abroad and highlighted their role in fostering local employment and nurturing local talent. He also discussed the potential benefits of India’s economic growth for the region, citing areas such as tourism and trade.
Addressing security concerns, the Minister emphasized India’s commitment to the Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) outlook and bilateral defense collaboration. He encouraged Sri Lanka to avoid geopolitical competition and adopt an enlightened approach to policy-making. Dr. Jaishankar expressed India’s support for preserving Sri Lanka’s multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-religious identity. He advocated for a reconciliation process that addresses the aspirations of the Tamil community within a united and prosperous Sri Lanka.
The External Affairs Minister praised the Parliamentary Friendship Association as a cornerstone for future collaboration.
Dr. Ahmed Muyeen Farooqi’s Report