Written by Zulfick Farzan
15 Jan, 2022 | 12:55 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar has reaffirmed that India will be a steadfast and reliable partner of Sri Lanka, during a virtual meeting with Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
In a series of tweets, the Indian Minister said “We positively noted the extension of the USD 400 million swap facility and the deferred ACU settlement of USD 515.2 million.”
“Discussed the early realization of USD 1 billion term loan facility for essential commodities and of USD 500 million LoC for fuel purchase,” he added.
He also assured that India will take up with other international partners initiatives to support Sri Lanka at this important juncture.
“Welcomed the progress on Trincomalee Tank Farm which will contribute to energy security,” he tweeted.
According to Dr. Jaishankar, projects and investment plans by India that would strengthen Sri Lankan economy were considered at the meeting.
He also urged for the early release of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody as a humanitarian gesture.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry said that Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar held a virtual meeting with Finance Minister of Sri Lanka Basil Rajapaksa and the interaction follows Rajapaksa’s visit to India last month.
Dr. Jaishankar conveyed that India has always stood with Sri Lanka, and will continue to support Sri Lanka in all possible ways for overcoming the economic and other challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
“As close friends and maritime neighbours, both India and Sri Lanka stand to gain from closer economic interlinkages,” he noted.
Both Ministers positively noted that extension of US$ 400 million to Sri Lanka under the SAARC currency swap arrangement and deferral of A.C.U. settlement of USD 515.2 million by two months, which would assist Sri Lanka.
The two Ministers reviewed the progress in extending Indian credit facility of USD 1 billion for importing food, essential items and medicine and USD 500 mn for importing fuel from India.
Rajapaksa recalled India’s longstanding cooperation with Sri Lanka and deeply appreciated the gestures of support. He welcomed Indian investments in Sri Lanka in a number of important spheres including ports, infrastructure, energy, renewable energy, power and manufacturing and assured that conducive environment will be provided to encourage such investments.
In this context, both Ministers noted that the recent steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka for jointly modernizing Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms will boost confidence of investors, apart from enhancing Sri Lanka’s energy security.
Dr. S. Jaishankar brought up the issue of Indian fishermen detained in Sri Lanka. He urged the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure early release of the detained fishermen on humanitarian considerations.
The two Ministers agreed to remain in close touch for guiding mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation towards long-term economic partnership for shared progress and prosperity.
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