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India keen to upgrade bilateral engagement: Deputy HC

10 January 2022 09:44 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Mount Lavinia - Kankesanthurai intercity train service using coaches from India

The Mount Lavinia - Kankesanthurai intercity train service began using full AC Diesel Multiple Units provided by India under a loan facility, a statement from the Indian High Commission said.A ceremony to mark the launch was conducted with the participation of Transport Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Indian Deputy High Commissioner Vinod K Jacob. 

During his conversation with the Transport Minister, Deputy High Commissioner Jacob recalled the priority placed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on ties with Sri Lanka in line with the Neighbourhood First policy. He said that the recent statement of External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar that India would support Sri Lanka in difficult times is an affirmation of the Neighbourhood First policy in the current context. He also reiterated High Commissioner Gopal Baglay’s emphasis on mutually beneficial cooperation that facilitates people to  people exchanges.  

The Minister thanked the Indian government for steadfast support to Sri Lanka over the years, including during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Deputy High Commissioner Jacob responded that during the current year, the Indian side is keen to upgrade the bilateral engagement. He said that the Indian government  celebrated this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (9 January) with special focus on the youth. In this regard, the Deputy High Commissioner recalled the visits of Mahatma Gandhi to Sri Lanka including the seminal speech at Ananda College.  

“Supplied by RITES under an Indian Line of Credit, these AC DMUs will help facilitate quicker travel between the Western and Northern Province. The AC DMUs is just one of the many Railway projects being undertaken by India in Sri Lanka. There are also other ongoing projects, which include supply of passenger coaches by RITES under an Indian Line of Credit. RITES has already supplied 120 of the 160 coaches under this project. Another Indian Company, IRCON is executing a project for Up-gradation of railway tracks between Maho-Anuradhapura-Omanthai. India’s total development portfolio in Sri Lanka is over USD 3.5 billion, of which around USD 570 million are purely grant projects. Modernization of Railways and creation of new Railway infrastructure have been important sectors of focus under the Indian Government’s development portfolio in Sri Lanka, in line with the priority of the Government and people of Sri Lanka,” the statement said. 

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