Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.subrahmanyam Jaishankar said India he was carrying back with him Sri Lanka’s interest in accessing vaccines against COVID-19 from India.
Addressing a joint press conference with his Sri Lankan counterpart,the Indian Minister said both the countries are faced with daunting and common challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the same time,i think COVID
19 has given us an opportunity to collaborate even more closely.reflecting our ‘Neighbourhood First’policy,india has supported Sri Lanka’s efforts to tackle COVID-19 through timely medical assistance.i should also place on record my appreciation to the Sri Lankan Government for its assistance and facilitation in evacuation of Indian nationals who were stuck here.we are now looking at POST-COVID-19 cooperation and I carry back with me Sri Lanka’s interest in accessing vaccines from India,” he said.
The Indian Minister arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday as his first visit abroad in the New Year.
“I am grateful to my counterpart for his invitation and for welcoming my delegation and me with typical Sri Lankan hospitality.he extended this invitation to me when he was in India almost exactly a year ago. But due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,it was not possible for me to visit earlier,”he said.
He said the potential for further strengthening cooperation is enormous and there are many proposals under discussion,including infrastructure, energy,connectivity,etc.
Asserting that Indian business is strongly interested in investing in
Sri Lanka,he said he discussed some important opportunities including in special zones for pharmaceutical manufacturing as also in tourism.
“I will ensure an early follow-up,” he said. Dr.jaishankar referred to the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka said India had been strongly committed to the unity,stability and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
“Our support for the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka is longstanding,as indeed for an inclusive political outlook that encourages ethnic harmony.it is in Sri Lanka’s own interest that the expectations of the Tamil people for equality,justice,peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka are fulfilled.that applies equally to the commitments made by the Sri Lankan Government on meaningful devolution, including the 13th Amendment to the Constitution,” he said (KELUM BANDARA)