06/08/2023 Sunday Observer
Sri Lanka-India economic partnership crucial to address sensitive issues - SL HC Milinda Moragoda

Highlighting the potential benefits of the newly proposed "India-Sri Lanka economic partnership for maritime, energy, and financial connectivity," Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to India, Milinda Moragoda, said that it could be a pivotal step in addressing the sensitivities of both countries and strengthening bilateral relations.

The economic partnership, unveiled during President Wickremesinghe's visit to India, includes initiatives such as power grid interconnection, the construction of a petroleum pipeline, and a feasibility study for land connectivity, Moragoda told the media.

Indian External Affairs Ministry sources said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured India's commitment to stand with Sri Lanka in the face of challenges.

The sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave this assurance to President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Sri Lankan delegation in keeping with India's "Neighbourhood First" policy and its vision for "Security and Growth for All in the Region" (SAGAR).

The implementation of the new India-Sri Lanka economic partnership can be a key step towards addressing the sensitivities of both countries and forging stronger relations, said Moragoda.

Explaining India's long-term vision towards Sri Lanka, India's External Affairs Ministry sources said India and Sri Lanka have adopted a document for economic partnership with a vision to strengthen the Maritime, Air, Energy and people-to-people connectivity between the people of both countries, which will promote and accelerate mutual cooperation in tourism, power, trade, higher education and skills development.

The sources said Prime Minister Modi also expressed hope that the Government of Sri Lanka will fulfill the aspirations of the Tamils community, the implementation of the 13th Amendment and conducting a Provincial Council Elections. India's External Affairs Ministry had approved INR 8 crore for the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board (TNMB) for the proposed Passenger Ferry Services to be launched between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Kankesanthurai (KKS) in Sri Lanka.

India and Sri Lanka have decided to speed up the work on connecting the electricity grids between the two countries. A feasibility study will be done for a petroleum pipeline too. FinTech connectivity will also increase with the agreement signed between the two countries, to launch the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) in Sri Lanka, Sources said.