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In line with the priority placed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on ties with Sri Lanka in line with the Neighborhood First policy, an intercity train service, using recently given Full AC Diesel Multiple Units (AC DMUs) under Indian loan facility, was launched from Colombo on Sunday.
The train is to run from Colombo (Mount Lavinia) to Kankesanthurai, on the the tip of the Northern Peninsula, where a majority of the Tamil community lives. Participating at the event in Colombo, in the presence of the island nation's Transport Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Indian Deputy High Commissioner, Vinod K. Jacob, recalled the recent statement of Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar that "India would support Sri Lanka in difficult times" is an affirmation of the Neighborhood First policy in the current context.
Dr. S Jaishankar that "India would support Sri Lanka in difficult times" is an affirmation of the Neighborhood First policy in the current context. | Wikimedia Commons
He also reiterated High Commissioner Gopal Baglay's emphasis on mutually beneficial cooperation that facilitates people to people exchanges. The launch at Colombo's main railway station took place while elsewhere in the capital, Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and assured "China will continue to do its best to provide all the necessary help and support to Sri Lanka".
He was visiting Sri Lanka to mark the 65th anniversary of bilateral ties between the two nations. Colombo was Wang's last destination of his visit to five strategic cities in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from Africa to Asia. At the train launch, the Transport Minister thanked India for steadfast support to Sri Lanka over the years, including during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
An Indian High Commission statement said Deputy High Commissioner Jacob also has reiterated that during the current year, the Indian side is "keen to upgrade the bilateral engagement". It said the AC DMUs supplied under an Indian Line of Credit by Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) would help facilitate quicker travel between the Western Province and the Northern Province.
An intercity tran was launched on Sunday in line with the priority placed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on ties with Sri Lanka. | Wikimedia Commons
"The supply of AC DMUs is just one of the many Railway projects being undertaken by India in Sri Lanka. There are also other ongoing projects, which include supply of passenger coaches byRITES under an Indian Line of Credit. RITES has already supplied 120 of the 160 coaches under this project. Another Indian Company, IRCON is executing a project for Up-gradation of railway tracks between Maho-Anuradhapura-Omanthai," it said.
Severely affected by the dollar crunch and debt burden, Sri Lanka is awaiting financial support of around $1.9 billion from India. The total financial support included $400 million swap, a $500 million line of credit for the purchase of oil, and a $1 billion credit line for purchases of essential commodities including food and medicine.
"India's total development portfolio in Sri Lanka is over $3.5 billion, of which around $570 million are purely grant projects. Modernisation of railways and creation of new railway infrastructure have been important sectors of focus under the Indian government's development portfolio in Sri Lanka, in line with the priority of the government and people of Sri Lanka," the Indian HC statement said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: India, Sri Lanka, train, intercity, Narendra Modi, railway, Neighborhood First Policy)
Sachin Tendulkar's management firm -- SRT Sports Management Private Limited -- on Saturday confirmed that the legendary cricketer is not part of the upcoming Legends League Cricket (LLC), starting January 20. The Legends Cricket League will feature retired players. It recently announced its Indian squad for the tournament which will be played in Muscat, Oman. Former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri is the Commissioner of LLC.
Also Read : The ultimate cricket stay
Earlier, in a promotional video that featured Amitabh Bachchan, it was shown that the batting legend Tendulkar will be participating in the league. However, SRT Sports rubbished the claims and confirmed that the legend is not taking part in the league. The firm also requested organizers to not provide misleading pieces of information to fans.
"The news about @sachin_rt's participation in 'Legends League Cricket' is not true. The organizers should refrain from misleading cricket fans and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan," SRT Sports Management Pvt Ltd wrote on Twitter. The LLC will feature three teams that will lock horns with each other. The Indian team (India Maharajas) will be represented by the likes of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, and Yusuf Pathan.
The Legends Cricket League will feature retired players.Wikipedia
The Asia team 'Asia Lions' was also announced by the LLC which comprises former Pakistani and Sri Lankan players including Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Azhar Mahmood, Upul Tharanga, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammed Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Yousuf, Umar Gul and Asghar Afghan. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Sachin Tendulkar, SRT Sports Management Pvt. Ltd. , cricketer, Legends League Cricket, tournament, Muscat, Oman, misleading, information, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, cricket, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan SIngh.)
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Despite the island nation's borders being closed for many months due to the health crisis, 194,495 visitors arrived, with almost a quarter of them coming from India, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).
India led the list with 56,268 visitors, followed by Russia (16,268) and the United Kingdom (16,646), Germany (12,442), Ukraine (7,037), France (6,549), the United States (6,124), Kazakhstan (5,754), Canada (5,079), and China (5,079), according to the SLTDA (2,417).
After two waves of Covid-19, Sri Lanka's tourism was severely harmed by the pandemic's third wave in April 2021.
However, being one of the world's top tourist attractions, Sri Lanka rapidly opened up to visitors, and a variety of promotions were developed as a result.
SriLankan Airlines started a 'Buy One, Get One Free Ticket' promotion for Indian tourists in order to attract more visitors from the neighbouring country.
The airlines also began flying to Chennai and Mumbai on a weekly basis, as well as Bengaluru, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Trivandrum, and Cochin.
Also read: The Arrival Of Anarchy To Sri Lanka
The government opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers in August 2021, and the necessary on-arrival PCR testing were withdrawn the following month.
The 2019 Easter Sunday attacks targeting Christian churches and five-star hotels in April 2019, which killed almost 250 people, including foreigners, dealt a major blow to Sri Lanka's tourist sector, which is the third greatest source of foreign income.
In October 2019, the country, which was named Lonely Planet's number one travel destination, planned to welcome 2.5 million tourists, up from 2.3 million in 2018.
Roughly 2019, Sri Lanka welcomed nearly 1.9 million tourists, bringing in $3.5 billion.
As the epidemic spread, the industry took a hit in 2020, with the number of people affected dropping to 570,000.
(keywords: Sri Lanka, Chennai, Mumbai, airlines)
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama virtually addressed a two-day major event held in Colombo during which he spoke to around 600 monks from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.
The event as part of the Maha Satipatthana Sutta celebrations for the Theravada Sangha members from the above mentioned countries.
The Dalai Lama spoke on the first day of the event on December 17, which was followed by a question and answer session the next day.
He addressed the event from his residence in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.
The organiser, Sri Lankan Tibetan Buddhist Brotherhood Society aims to raise understanding and awareness of the common Buddhist heritage of the Sri Lankan and Tibetan peoples.
(Keywords: Dalai Lama, Holiness, Buddhism, Sri Lanka, Religion, Festivity, Tibet, People, Brotherhood Society, Himachal Pradesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Tibetan People