Lessons from a visit to the neighbour

Wednesday, 26 July 2023 00:00 –      – 15

The people of Sri Lanka have faced several difficulties during the last year but we continue to support the people because they are a close friend, as we always have been declared Modi in his speech on Friday.

This was during the formal visit us the Lankan President and his entourage’s first since assuming the Presidency last year after his predecessor was forced to leave because of the economic crisis. He landed in New Delhi a day earlier for the visit.

Between January and July of last year, Sri Lanka required India’s aid of around $ 4 billion when it nearly ran out of forex and went through a financial crisis that prevented it from paying for imports of necessities like fuel and medicine. India claimed that the two Presidents then, “adopted a vision document for our Economic Partnership”  in order to boost people-to-people, energy, and marine connections, as well as to quicken bilateral collaboration in commerce, tourism, higher education, and skill development. Additionally, Modi stated that the two sides will work fast to connect their electrical systems and investigate the viability of constructing a land bridge and petroleum pipeline to connect the two nations.

Establishing land connectivity would provide India access to the important ports of Trincomalee and Colombo and would reinforce the centuries-old link between our neighbours, which is mentioned in a strategic plan. The Palk Strait is only around 25km wide in certain areas. It was anticipated that the whole cost of the projects to connect electricity grids through submarine cables and the oil pipeline would be over $ 4 billion.

An affordable and dependable source of energy would be provided to Sri Lanka by building a multi-product petroleum pipeline from southern India according to discussions. The two nations will also soon resume talks on a bigger trade agreement called the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement. The reforms the Sri Lankan Government is implementing to end the island country’s financial problems are an expression of gratitude for India’s assistance during the most trying time in modern history.

India is a part of the group that Japan and other Paris Club members created to assist Sri Lanka in reorganising its debt. With $ 1.9 billion in outstanding debt, it continues to be a significant creditor. According to some experts, the trip to the regional superpower was a clear indication that India’s cooperation during the previous year was valued. India “will be the most important partner for Sri Lanka to reset its economy, its bureaucracy, and its decision-making systems for future economic partnerships”. In that regard, this visit ushers in a new chapter.

Despite the fact that the vision statement outlined a thorough strategy for the future, one notable omission stood out: none of the written documents were made public. Moreover, the commitment to upholding the 13th Amendment’s provisions for the devolution of power to the North and Eastern provinces and for resolving the long-standing problems related to the arrest of Indian fishermen. It was left to Modi to make a forceful case for devolution and the holding of Provincial Council elections in his speech. He emphasised the necessity of ensuring a “life of respect and dignity” for the Sri Lankan Tamil people.

While Sri Lanka has long been a point of contention between India and China due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, New Delhi has historically enjoyed close connections with its southern neighbour. The two leaders also stated their support for the full implementation of a plan supported by India to share power with Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority in the north and east of the island. Language and cultural relations exist between the minority and Tamil people in southern India.



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