Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa calls for better economic cooperation with India | India News

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May 27, 2020

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday called for closer economic ties with India, saying the bilateral relationship would become further stronger with the addition of new areas of cooperation.
During a meeting with the newly-appointed Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay, at his Temple Trees residence, Rajapaksa said Buddhist heritage and links between India and Sri Lanka provide a platform for robust people-to-people engagement and bring them closer.
“There has to be more closer economic ties with India. The bilateral relationship would become stronger with the addition of new areas of cooperation,” the prime minister was quoted as saying in an official statement during his meeting with Baglay.
The meeting coincided with the 50th anniversary of the election of Prime Minister Rajapaksa to the Sri Lankan Parliament.
During his meeting with the prime minister, Baglay reiterated India’s commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Sri Lanka in addressing the challenges posed by the coronavirus and in post-COVID economic recovery.
Sri Lanka has so far reported 1,319 cases of coronavirus with 10 deaths.
“Towards this end, food security, health security, IT cooperation, tourism exchanges, development cooperation partnership, greater investment flows were identified as priority areas,” a statement issued by the Indian High Commission here said.
Baglay during the meeting also conveyed the sincere condolences of the Government of India on the sad and untimely demise of Arumugan Thondaman.
Thondaman, a former minister who played a vital role in Sri Lanka’s citizenship for the Indian-origin people working in the tea plantations in the country in the mid-1980s, died on Tuesday. He was 56.
The meeting came a week after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephonic conversation.
During his conversation with Modi, the president requested India to provide a special USD 1.1 billion currency swap facility to boost the country’s draining foreign exchange reserves in view of the economic slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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