India and Sri Lanka discuss cooperation in aviation, oil exploration, power projects, and inter-grid connectivity

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds talks with Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Sri Lankan President, on the future of cooperation between the neighboring countries. Union Finance Minister expresses India’s willingness to cooperate with the island nation in aviation, oil exploration, power projects, and inter-grid connectivity.

The Honorable Finance Minister also extended the country’s support to Sri Lanka to overcome the severe economic crisis persisting from last year. India agrees to keep closely collaborating with Sri Lanka to get the island nation out of the grave debt that it has accumulated itself into.

The Sri Lankan President thanked India for supporting Sri Lanka’s debt treatment plan. Sri Lanka is expected to collect the support of its major creditors, like India, China, and Japan, for a joint debt treatment plan, which can only help the country unlock the Extended Fund Facility from the International Monetary Fund.

According to the IMF, Sri Lanka has to gain the support and agreement of all its official creditors to get a second-level financial aid of 330 Million USD in the form of an Extended Fund Facility. Sri Lanka is already a beneficiary of an EFF-funded 48-month program from the IMF. On October 19, Sri Lanka reached an agreement with the IMF on the policies to employ as part of the first review of the 48-month program.

As per the official statement declared by India and Sri Lanka, the countries have also discussed the possibilities of cooperating in inter-grid connectivity, power projects, aviation, etc., for the collective good of both countries. The discussion also brought up the possibility of cooperation in oil exploration projects in the town of Mannar.

The Union Finance Minister is on a three-day visit to Sri Lanka, which was officially started on November 1. Despite the continuous discussions and the announcements regarding the firming up of some already running projects, no specific new projects are inked as part of the minister’s visit.

One of the significant events of the minister’s three-day visit was the exchange of a revised Memorandum of Understanding. As per the Memorandum, Sri Lanka will receive a grant assistance of 15 million USD from India to promote the Buddhist ties and links between the countries.

On Thursday, the Sri Lankan President expressed his gratitude towards the Indian Union Government for their assistance during the Sri Lankan economic crisis. As per the President, India provided assistance of about 4 Billion USD to help out Sri Lanka during the difficult days. While talking at the Naam 200 event on Thursday, Mr. Wickremesinghe thankfully remembered the Indian assistance and said, “If we are stable today, it is because of the assistance.”

Naam 200 event marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Malaiyaha Tamils to Sri Lanka. British planters brought the Malaiyaha Tamils to Sri Lanka to work in the tea and coffee plantations. The Indian Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was the Guest of Honour at the Naam 200 event conducted on Thursday.