India-Sri Lanka to hold first virtual summit: Focus on military cooperation and economic cooperation

By: |
September 25, 2020 3:55 PM

The relations have been growing and have witnessed several high-level visits and the two sides have been working towards strengthening not only economic relations but the two sides have been focusing on other sectors too.

During the global lockdown the leaders have been in touch and India has also sent help to tackle the health and economic impact of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.During the global lockdown the leaders have been in touch and India has also sent help to tackle the health and economic impact of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first virtual engagement with a neighbouring country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks with Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday (Sept 26, 2020). The Virtual Summit is in line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ approach and SAGAR doctrine. Besides reviewing the broad framework of the bilateral relationship, deepened collaborative partnership on key issues of mutual interest, the focus of the talks between the two leaders will be on enhancing economic cooperation, maritime security, defence, power sector, culture, tourism etc.

Bilateral Relations

The relations have been growing and have witnessed several high-level visits and the two sides have been working towards strengthening not only economic relations but the two sides have been focusing on other sectors too. Indian investments in the manufacturing sector are another area of interest for the Sri Lankan side.

There have been regular interactions between the leaders of both countries. Prime Minister Modi has maintained regular interaction with both the President and Prime Minister of the island nation.

Saturday’s Virtual Summit, according to the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Anurag Srivastava “Is preceded by the State visits of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to India last November and February 2020.”

During the global lockdown the leaders have been in touch and India has also sent help to tackle the health and economic impact of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent months, Prime Minister Modi was the first world leader to congratulate PM Mahinda Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), for victory during the elections. Last week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had called PM Modi to wish him on his birthday.

India offers Line of Credit for Solar Projects

Earlier this month (Sept 2, 2020), India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay met with the Minister of Power, Mr Dullas Alahapperuma and handed over a copy of a letter from the government offering a Line of Credit (LoC) for $ 100 million. This is for the three projects which were announced during the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Founding Conference which had taken place in New Delhi in March 2018.

According to an official release from the Indian High Commission, this LoC will help finance for rooftop solar systems which are for 20,000 households and 1,000 government buildings all across the island.

What will be the capacity of these?

The combined generation capacity of these rooftop systems will be about 60 MW and the help from India will also finance a floating solar power plant. Once the LoC Agreement is inked the LoC will be implemented.

Why has India offered LoC?

It is in line with the national priorities of India and Sri Lanka to enhance the share of solar and renewable energy in overall energy generation.

India and Sri Lanka have expressed their commitment to further strengthen the bilateral defence ties and jointly face the security challenges and concerns to ensure stability in the region.

India-Sri Lanka Defence Cooperation

Last month, India’s new Defence Advisor, India Navy’ Captain Vikas Sood had a series of meetings with the top officers of the Indian Navy and the armed forces and the focus was on strengthening the defence cooperation between the two sides.

Some of the key elements of this military cooperation include: almost 50 per cent of all foreign military training slots in India are allocated to Sri Lankan defence personnel, joint training and exercises, there are regular high-level exchanges and visits, ship visits and sports interactions.

Helping Hand during COVID-19 lockdown

Both Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Ports Authority played a significant role in helping during the repatriation of Indian nationals from the island country when in June INS Jalashwa undertook a visit to get back the stranded Indians there.

As has been reported, India had extended essential medical assistance to Sri Lanka in recent months, also, the Indian Navy had gifted two transportation pods for transferring COVID 19 patients and four thermal scanners to Sri Lankan Navy.

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