Modi Visit and Review of India Sri Lanka Relations
Indian Foreign Secretary Mr Vijay Gokhale summarized the progress of India Maldives relations during a press briefing on Prime Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka on June 06, 2019. Some of the key facets include:-
India is the first visit by a foreign leader to Sri Lanka after the tragic events of 21st April when several bomb blasts resulted in huge casualties is Sri Lanka. It is a very special gesture and it is a very clear message of solidarity that the people and government of India stand firmly with the people and government of Sri Lanka at this tragic time.
The aim of the visit was to Sri Lanka was firstly, showing solidarity with the people and the government in the wake of the tragic events of the 21st April and expressing confidence in the government of Sri Lanka in overcoming this national tragedy. Secondly Prime Minister very clearly signaled his commitment and the intention of the government at the highest level to build a strong relationship based on mutual trust and mutual sensitivity to each other’s concern in the coming five years. And thirdly to discuss ways to enhance development partnership.
Prime Minister had announced that India would be giving 14 thousand houses to up country Tamils i.e. the Indian origins Tamils up-country. The first tranche of houses, about 1500 were handed over in August 2018 and India was in the process of actually completing the rest of the housing which were be handed over later this year and in the first half of next year.
India also handed over the Ruhuna University Auditorium, this is the largest auditorium which have built in any university in Sri Lanka in October 2018.
Several high impact community development projects roughly valued at about 250 crores are in various stages of implementation. This includes hospital equipment for Vavuniya hospital, the engineering and architectural facilities at Jaffna University and the livelihood project at Hambantota.
One of the big achievements and certainly one which has caught popular imagination is the free emergency ambulance services. This is an initiative of India to provide over 280 ambulances which will respond nationwide, island wide to any emergencies and it is now operative in 8 out of 9 provinces and it is very deeply appreciated not just by the government but by the public as well.
India has already commenced delivery of railway rolling stock under an earlier Line of Credit of about Rs. 2800 crores. These supplies include diesel engines, it includes other rolling stock from December 2018, this started going to Sri Lanka and there is of course a new Line of Credit in the railway sector also which India is currently examining and which in under discussion inter-ministerially. Two trilateral MoUs have been signed. India, Japan and Sri Lanka. One in April which is for the LNG Terminal, one just earlier this month which was for the development of the East Container Terminal.
The two countries have also completed Exim Bank’s buyer’s credit of about $60 million in water supply project in Greater Dambulla. So on a number of commitments that Prime Minister made when he went in May 17, India and Sri Lanka have seen significant progress