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“Neighbourhood first” Policy: India offers to link its growth with Sri Lanka

India is assisting Sri Lanka in a number of development projects, including health and education

NEW DELHI: In what can be called symbolic of its “neighbourhood first” policy, India has offered to link its growth story with southern neighbour Sri Lanka.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said this during a meeting with Sri Lankan Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama during his visit to New Delhi on July 4-5, it is reliably learnt.

According to sources, discussions between Sushma Swaraj and Samarawickrama focussed on the “neighbourhood first” policy of India .

“External Affairs Minister reiterated that India would like its economic growth trajectory to also lead to growth for Sri Lanka,” the sources said on Wednesday.

“Discussions with the External Affairs Minister reviewed the implementation of decisions taken at the ninth India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting for furthering trade, investment and developmental linkages between India and Sri Lanka,” the sources said.

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India is assisting Sri Lanka in a number of development projects, including health and education.

“There was agreement on creating an enabling environment for Indian industry to invest in Sri Lanka,” the sources said.

Malik Samarawickrama. Image source: coyle.lk
Malik Samarawickrama (in the centre). Image source: coyle.lk

It is learnt that both Sushma Swaraj and Samarawickrama agreed to encourage further momentum on projects between the two countries.

“The two ministers reviewed various projects, including the Sampur power plant, rehabilitation of Palaly airfield and Kankesanthurai harbour,” the sources said.

Sushma Swaraj also emphasised on the urgency of finding a permanent solution to the fishermen issue, recommended by the Joint Commission Meeting in February this year, 2016.

On Wednesday, July 6, Sri Lanka arrested 17 Indian fishermen for fishing in its maritime territories.

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The sources said both sides agreed that a meeting between the fishery ministries of the two countries should be held at the earliest. (IANS)

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