New Delhi and Colombo have agreed on a four-pronged cooperation package that includes urgent food and health security, energy security, currency swaps, and Indian investments as Sri Lanka tries to rebuild its Covid-battered economy.
During Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s visit to India this week, the short-to-medium-term plan was decided. He met with Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s Foreign Minister, and S Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister, among others.
Basil Rajapaksa, the brother of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is a political strategist. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was President, he was a confidante of his.
The two sides discussed “four pillars” for short- and medium-term collaboration, according to a statement released by the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi.
These are: an urgent food and health security package that would include an extension of a line of credit to cover the import of food, medicines, and other essential items from India to Sri Lanka; an energy security package that would include a line of credit to cover the import of fuel from India, as well as early modernization of the Trincomalee Tank Farm; an offer of a currency swap to help Sri Lanka address its balance of payment issues; facilitation of Indian investments in various sectors; and an offer of a currency swap
The conversations between the Sri Lankan Finance Minister and his Indian counterpart, as well as the External Affairs Minister, focused on matters of mutual importance in the bilateral relationship. “Both parties expressed satisfaction with the bilateral relationship’s progress. They explored methods and means to further widen and deepen the current bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries throughout the discussions.” According to the statement.
Basil Rajapaksa informed the Indian side of Sri Lanka’s economic status and his government’s post-Covid challenges strategy. Indian ministers expressed their support for Sri Lanka and reaffirmed that their country has always stood by it.
It was agreed, according to the statement, that procedures for achieving these goals will be finalized within a mutually agreed timescale.