As part of PM Narendra Modi’s first tour to Sri Lanka, India and Sri Lanka today signed four bilateral pacts which includes agreement on visa and customs to simplify trade and reduce non-tarriff barriers, agreement on youth development and building Rabindranath Tagore. Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka is the first stand alone bilateral tour by an Indian Prime Minister since 1987. Modi met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and discussed issues of regional importance. Modi called for greater security cooperation with Sri Lanka whose drift towards China has raised concerns in India.
Modi said that it will take time to reach an amicable solution to the fishermen’s issue between India and Sri Lanka as it has both livelihood and humanitarian dimensions to it. The Prime Minister said his meeting with Sirisena has been very productive. It “gives me confidence and optimism about the future of our relations,” Modi said.
The progress indicates the countries’ shared commitment to stronger economic cooperation.
Modi said India stands ready to help Trincomalee become a petroleum hub and announced that India will provide a fresh Line of Credit of up to USD 318 million for the railways sector in Lanka to procure rolling stock, and to restore and upgrade existing railway track.
In addition, the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka have agreed to enter into a Currency Swap Agreement of USD 1.5 billion to help keep the Sri Lankan rupee stable.
“We stand with you in your efforts to build a future that accommodates the aspirations of all sections of society, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, for a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka”, said Modi.