EAM Jaishankar’s visit to Sri Lanka: Focus on 'neighbourhood first' and SAGAR policies

Jaishankar meets Sri Lankan leaders, says India will always be a reliable friend

EAM Jaishankar Sri Lanka visit Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during a meeting with Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe | PTI

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar undertook a day-long visit to Sri Lanka on Thursday. He had meetings with the Sri Lankan leaders on wide-ranging issues from the power sector to maritime security. 

In his first bilateral visit to Sri Lanka after the NDA government took charge in New Delhi, Jaishankar met Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and discussed the way forward for the bilateral cooperation - in power, energy, connectivity, port infrastructure, aviation, digital, health, food security, education and tourism sectors. He also commissioned the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre built with a USD 6 million grant from India. Jaishankar also handed over new homes built with Indian assistance.

In a post on social media platform X, Jaishankar stated, "Concluded a productive visit to Sri Lanka, my first in this new term. We will always be a reliable friend and a dependable partner for our Sri Lankan friends.”

Jaishankar’s visit underscores the importance of Sri Lanka in India’s neighbourhood policy and SAGAR Vision, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). “This was his first bilateral visit to any country after being sworn in as External Affairs Minister... His visit underscores India's primacy that we accord to Sri Lanka in a neighbourhood-first policy as also a Sagar vision policy,” said MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal. Apart from meeting Ranil Wickremesinghe, Jaishankar also called on Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. He also met opposition leader Sajith Premadasa and had separate meetings with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and others. 

“Interaction of EAM with the leadership of the Government of Sri Lanka provided an opportunity to review and accelerate progress in the multifaceted India-Sri Lanka partnership. One of the key focus areas of discussion was the Vision Document adopted by President Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the former's visit to India in July 2023,” MEA’s press statement added. 

Jaishankar’s meeting with Ranil assumes significance, especially in the backdrop of the latter participating in Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony on June 9. India has been Sri Lanka’s major source of support after the Island nation slipped into a huge economic crisis and approached the IMF for loans. 

Jaishankar’s visit comes in the wake of Sri Lanka's presidential election due in October this year.

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