Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla began his four-day visit to Sri Lanka on Saturday (October 2nd). During his visit to the island nation, he will meet senior Sri Lankan officials, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and assess bilateral relations between the two Asian neighbors. The Indian Foreign Ministry said Shringla arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday at an invitation from his Sri Lankan counterpart Jayanath Colombage.
The Foreign Ministry said in a press release that the tour will contribute to the long-standing multifaceted relationship and deepening bilateral relations between the two countries. Foreign Minister Shringla will also visit Kandy, the eastern port district of Trincomalee and the northern city of Jaffna. After taking office as India’s foreign minister in January last year, this is Shringla’s first trip to Sri Lanka.
Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla will visit Sri Lanka from October 2-5 to review bilateral relations, the progress of ongoing bilateral projects and ongoing cooperation to deal with Covid-related disruptions: MEA
(photo file) pic.twitter.com/6s2Y3ywox4
– ANI (@ANI) October 1, 2021
Benefits of Harsh Shringla Visit to Sri Lanka
The Indian High Commission said on Friday that Shringla’s trip would provide an opportunity to assess bilateral connections, advance ongoing initiatives and address ongoing collaboration to tackle COVID-related issues. It is worth mentioning that Shringla’s visit comes days after the Indian multinational conglomerate based in Ahmedabad, the Adani Group, signed an agreement with the Sri Lanka Port Authority for the construction of the international container terminal west of the port of Colombo.
According to the government of Sri Lanka, the $ 700 million “build-operate-transfer” contract is the largest foreign investment in the country’s port industry. While the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) said on Friday that Sri Lanka plays a vital role in India’s “neighborhood first” police and that Shringla’s visit reflects the importance of ensuring strong relationships and cordial between the two nations in all areas of common interest.
Harsh Shringla’s tour of Sri Lanka also comes at a time when Colombo is struggling economically, and India’s foreign minister is expected to consider whether India can help the island nation with its crisis. Shringla’s trip to the neighboring country is also expected to include discussions on the construction of the West International Container Terminal at the port of Colombo.
At her meetings in Colombo, Shringla is expected to rekindle the discussion on India’s position on the long-standing Tamil issue. India has repeatedly urged Sri Lanka to keep its commitments to protect the interests of the Tamil community and maintain the country’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious identity. The Tamil people of Sri Lanka have pleaded for the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, promulgated after the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of 1987.