Infrastructure News

Relations with India key to Sri Lanka’s economic growth: Minister, ET Infra

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COLOMBO: A close relationship with India is very important for Sri Lanka as it provides key support for the island nation’s future growth, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya said on Wednesday. He also said that a direct ferry service between the two countries as well as the improvement of the Tamil-dominated northern province’s Jaffna International Airport are under discussion.

Addressing reporters on the recent visit of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to India where he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi among other dignitaries, Balasuriya said that there are possibilities of further strengthening the existing relationship between the two neighbouring nations.

“A close relationship with our neighbour India is very important for Sri Lanka as a country as it provides strong support for the nation’s future growth. Additionally, there are advantageous aspects between the two nations in terms of investments as well as development projects,” he said.

He said that 85 per cent of the containers destined for this country go to India.

“Therefore, we may benefit economically if we negotiate with India and expand the ports that are already in place,” he said.

Balasuriya said that a direct ferry service between the two countries as well as the improvement of the northern province’s Jaffna International Airport are under discussion.

India and Sri Lanka last year in December resumed direct flight services between Chennai and Jaffna, three years after the island nation discontinued the services due to the Covid pandemic, boosting travel from South India which has close cultural and religious ties with Northern Sri Lanka.

“Attention has also been focused on making Sri Lanka an energy hub. It will be discussed on how to develop offshore wind energy, solar energy and green energy in the future. Modernising the Trincomalee Oil Tank Complex and enhancing trade between the two countries were also being discussed,” he said.

Balasuriya emphasised that under Wickremesinghe’s leadership, Sri Lanka would gain greatly in the future as a result of his non-aligned foreign policy and his strong cooperation with all countries.

“Some earlier governments were accused of maintaining close relationships with China while some were accused of maintaining close ties with the West. Today, such accusations are not made due to the foreign policy of the current government and strong foreign relationships maintained,” he said.

  • Published On Jul 27, 2023 at 12:30 PM IST

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