NEW DELHI :
India and Sri Lanka will work out the details of projects to be taken up under a $450 million line of credit during Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to India from 7 to 11 February.
The Sri Lankan leader’s visit to India is his first abroad since being named prime minister in November last year. A former President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed prime minister after his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the presidential elections earlier in November.
The credit package for Sri Lanka was announced last year and the two sides are now set to unveil the implementation timelines. The two countries will also look at enhancing sub-regional maritime security cooperation, according to a statement by Rajapaksa’s office on Monday.
“During the state visit of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last year, prime minister (Narendra) Modi announced a $450 million fresh line of credit to Sri Lanka. The two countries are expected to finalize the implementation agenda during this forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Rajapaksa," according to the statement from his office.
“Follow-up discussions on Indian assistance to enhance training opportunities for Sri Lanka are expected in the fields of vocational training and training of the public services," according to the statement.
“With the aim of enhancing engagement in subregional maritime security cooperation, the two delegations are expected to discuss key areas under the defence and maritime security initiatives that include the Sri Lanka-India Annual Defence Dialogue and the trilateral maritime security cooperation with India and the Maldives," it said.
The stepping up of contact comes against the backdrop of an increasing presence of China in the Indian Ocean region, which India considers its sphere of influence. China has also invested millions of dollars in Sri Lanka as part of its ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
In recent years, India has boosted its development assistance to Sri Lanka, with the aim of weaning Colombo away from China. India’s overall commitment stands close to $3 billion, out of which around $560 million are in grants, the Indian foreign ministry website said.