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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

TNA: Ensure a Dignified Life for Tamils: PM Modi to Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe | indian news

NEW DELHI: India signed five deals with indebted neighbor Sri Lanka and released a bilateral vision paper for economic cooperation, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi told visiting Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe that the two countries’ security and development interests were intertwined and it was essential they work together taking into account each other’s security and sensitivities.

Amid lingering doubts about the island nation’s commitment to the cause of the minority Tamil, Modi also expressed hope that Sri Lanka would meet Tamil aspirations, including by implementing the 13th Amendment, which guarantees devolution of power, and holding elections for provincial councils. He said that India wanted Sri Lanka to ensure a life of respect and dignity for the Tamil community.
Stating that India stood shoulder to shoulder with the indebted people of Sri Lanka at this hour of crisis, Modi said that India would strengthen maritime, air, energy and people-to-people connectivity between the peoples of both countries. “The vision is to accelerate mutual cooperation in tourism, energy, trade, higher education and skills development. This is the vision: India’s long-term commitment to Sri Lanka,” the PM said.


I welcome the President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and his delegation to India: PM Modi

The comments followed a meeting with Wickremesinghe during the latter’s first visit to India as president and also since last year’s dispute over Sri Lanka’s decision to allow a Chinese ship to dock at Hambantota port despite strong opposition from India. Modi’s comment on the need to take into account the sensitivities of others served as a reminder to Sri Lanka not to allow the Chinese to carry out any activities on its soil that could undermine India’s security interests.

When asked about the challenges posed by China, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said the two leaders made “a thorough assessment of the challenges they face in the maritime domain,” adding that these challenges were “adequately addressed during the discussion.”

I thank Prime Minister Modi and the Indian Government for the invaluable support: Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe


I thank Prime Minister Modi and the Indian Government for the invaluable support: Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe

“The Sri Lankan side conveyed to us their respect for our security and sensitive strategic concerns related to what is happening with our maritime domain,” Kwatra said.
On the Tamil issue, Modi said Wickremesinghe told him about Sri Lanka’s inclusive approach. He said that India will contribute to the development programs in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka. “We are celebrating the 75th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. Likewise, the Tamil community of Indian origin celebrates the 200th anniversary of its arrival in Sri Lanka. I am pleased to say that several projects worth Rs 75 crore will be implemented this time for the Tamil citizens of Indian origin of Sri Lanka,” the Prime Minister said.

In his statement to the media after the talks, Wickremesinghe said he shared with Modi the “comprehensive proposal” he put forward this week to “promote reconciliation, power-sharing through devolution and the multiple elements of the northern development plan.”
According to Modi, talks on the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement will start soon, which will open up new possibilities for trade and economic cooperation for both countries.
“We agreed to improve air connectivity between India and Sri Lanka. To increase business and movement of people, it has also been decided to start passenger ferry services between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka. We have decided that the work of connecting the power grids between the two countries will be expedited,” Modi said.
“A feasibility study will be carried out for an oil pipeline between India and Sri Lanka. Apart from this, it was also decided to check the feasibility of a land bridge. Fintech connectivity will also increase with the agreement signed today to launch UPI in Sri Lanka,” he added.

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