Nirmala Sitharaman Bolsters India-Sri Lanka Relations with Key Initiatives
By: WE Staff | Monday, 6 November 2023
India's Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, spearheaded a delegation visit to Sri Lanka, focusing on deepening economic ties and fostering partnerships in various sectors. During the tour, she engaged in pivotal discussions with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
As the Guest of Honour at the 'Naam 200' event, marking the 200-year milestone of the Indian-origin Tamil community in Sri Lanka, Sitharaman inaugurated the India-Sri Lanka Business Summit, solidifying bilateral economic interests.
During her visit, Sitharaman visited prominent temples and conducted exchanges of bilateral documents with the President, commencing projects funded by a substantial US$15 million grant aimed at fortifying Buddhist ties between the two nations.
Demonstrating India's commitment to education and development, Sitharaman announced the deployment of STEM subject trainers in Sri Lanka's plantation regions. This initiative forms part of a comprehensive US$3 billion multi-sectoral package catering to the Indian-origin Tamil community. It includes provisions for solar lanterns, stitching units, and educational materials.
Sitharaman actively launched several educational initiatives, distributing notebooks, school bags, and RO plants to address drinking water issues in select schools. Her virtual inauguration of Phase-4 of the Indian Housing Project marked a pivotal extension, adding 10,000 houses for plantation workers. Additionally, she unveiled an upgraded Thondaman Vocational Training Centre to impart employable skills to the youth.
The overarching mission of this visit was to fortify economic bilateral engagements between India and Sri Lanka, promoting mutually beneficial investment opportunities and fostering sustainable partnerships in diverse sectors.
Highlighting her past contributions, Sitharaman's role in advocating for Sri Lanka during the 2022 IMF meetings and her instrumental efforts in expediting a US$4 billion support package from India to Sri Lanka were underscored, emphasizing her vital role in strengthening the two nations' ties.