Written by Staff Writer
15 Sep, 2015 | 7:44 pm
During his visit to India, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also met several other key Indian political figures.
Indian Congress Party, President Sonia Gandhi and Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi called on Prime Minister Wickremesinghe on Tuesday evening. Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh also met with the Premier.
News 1st’s Shameer Rasooldeen who is in India, caught up with Former Indian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson in New Delhi on Tuesday, September 15.
Shameer Rasooldeen: Ambassador Singh, starting off, how significant is Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India?
Former Indian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, KC Singh: As we see, it is a two-state change. There was the presidential contest, now there has been the prime ministerial position. It was important to see how it pans out. Because as you know, it could have been possible there could have been a different ending to this. So we were gonna get the old order in a new shape. We were going to get a kind of Medvedev – Putin kind of arrangement….. so this was really change. So this looks like change.
Shameer Rasooldeen: What is the future of Indo Sri Lanka relations.?
KC Singh: We have a free trade agreement. The future has to be determined by Sri Lanka. I think Sri Lankan economy is a recovering economy. It has gone through a very difficult and a long period of internal disturbance, civil war-like conditions, which scares away. Because your strength is not just commodity exports, your strength is as a centre for tourism, as a trans-shipment point. As a place where there can be a fulcrum for trade and commerce in the area because in the Indian ocean you are lying at a very crucial spot. And that’s all. One third of the world’s containers flow through the Indian ocean. Three quarters of the oil out of the Gulf is carried this way. So… Sri Lanka is in a very important trade route. Now, how it wants to restructure itsself would be exactly how other countries want to do it. You want both inbound trade as well as more in manufacturing capacity which generates jobs. Because that would be the first challenge for any prime minister.
Shameer Rasooldeen:There are many problems that persist regarding Indo Sri Lanka relation. In order to iron out this, what is the way forward?
KC Singh:I think the way forward, the prime minister’s visit would really focus on economics – like – we said, signing of the agreement. economic linkages, give a boost to that. Let that drive the relationshi, greet your people to people exchanges. I think more people should visit Sri Lanka
Shameer Rasooldeen: What can India offer in terms of help to improve the Sri Lankan economy?
KC Singh:It is, I think, the time where it has to be, it is not so much government to government. Because, you know, firstly India is not a capital surplus country in that sense that we…. but India has an assistance programme into the extent those work government to government – they can look at it. But essentially it’ll have to be Indian private sector.
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