Sri Lanka a priority under Neighbourhood First policy, assures PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi: – Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured, ‘Confidence is seen in the leadership of Mahinda Rajapaksa. A new chapter in the India-Sri Lanka relations has started with his win. India will always give preference to Sri Lanka under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘Sagar’ policies.’ A virtual meeting was held between the Indian and Sri Lankan Prime Ministers on Saturday. The Prime Minister was speaking during this meeting.  

india-srilankaPrime Minister Modi congratulated the newly elected Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, at the beginning of the meeting. India-Sri Lanka relations have thousands of years of history. Prime Minister Modi said that these relations would continue to remain the same, even in the future.   

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked India for the cooperation extended during the Coronavirus pandemic. Rajapaksa said that India gave them the confidence that India is with them during this period of crisis. Rajapaksa also underlined the importance of the cooperation extended by the Indian Navy after the Sri Lankan ship MT Diamond caught fire.   

Bilateral trade cooperation between India and Sri Lanka was discussed during the virtual meeting. Sri Lanka has temporarily banned some of the Indian products. Prime Minister Modi demanded that this ban should be revoked. India also presented the Air Bubble proposal to Sri Lanka.   

At the beginning of the year, a currency swap agreement worth USD 400 million was executed between India and Sri Lanka. Leaders from both the countries discussed this and also the repayment of the loans. India also announced assistance of USD 15 million for promotion of the Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka.   

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President issued a warning to China, with his statement that Sri Lanka will not tolerate domination of any country in the Indian Ocean Region. Sri Lanka, entangled in the Chinese debt trap, is seen to be completely leaning towards India. Sir Lanka has delivered a message that India will have an important place in the Sri Lankan foreign policy. Against this background, the virtual meeting between the Prime Ministers becomes essential. 

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