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India, Sri Lanka unveil plan to boost economic ties

PM Narendra Modi, Wickremesinghe hold talks, agree to deepen partnership through power, energy projects

India, Sri Lanka unveil plan to boost economic ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in New Delhi on Friday. MUKESH AGGARWAL



Tribune News Service

Sandeep Dikshit

New Delhi, July 21

India and Sri Lanka on Friday decided to intensify ties with a 25-year Economic Partnership Vision document that aims to connect electricity grids, construct a petroleum pipeline and check viability of a land bridge to boost connectivity between the two neighbours.

Pacts signed

  • Joint declaration of intent in the field of animal husbandry and dairying
  • Pact to make Trincomalee hub of energy and economic development
  • Network-to-network agreement between NPCI International Payments Limited and Lanka Pay for UPI application acceptance
  • Energy permit for the Sampur solar power project that will produce 100MW power for Sri Lanka
  • Memorandum of cooperation in the field of renewable energy

They also decided to designate INR as currency for trade settlements as well as operationalise UPI-based digital payments to enhance trade and transactions between businesses and common people. An agreement between NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL) and Lanka Pay was among the five pacts signed between the two sides.

Talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, on his first official visit to India after assuming presidency, led to a concurrence on enhancing connectivity with the latter assuaging India’s concerns on Chinese activities in Sri Lanka, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra told the media after the meeting between the two leaders.

Before Wickremesinghe left for India, Colombo sought to assuage India’s apprehensions over China by announcing a “standard operating procedure” for future port calls by foreign research vessels and military craft. In August last year, New Delhi had vigorously protested the docking of a Chinese research vessel at Hambantota.

PM Modi, in his statement, indirectly touched on this aspect. The security interests and development of the two nations are “intertwined” and that it is necessary to work together keeping in mind each other's security interests and sensitivities, he observed.

The PM said issues relating to the livelihood of fishermen figured in the talks and it was agreed that it should be dealt with a humane approach.

The PM also hoped that Sri Lanka will implement the 13th amendment and hold provincial council elections besides ensuring a “life of respect and dignity” for the Tamil community of Sri Lanka.

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