India ready for further cooperation with Sri Lanka in water, sanitation, agriculture, manufacturing

The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay, has called on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during which he conveyed that New Delhi was ready for further cooperation with Colombo in water, sanitation, agriculture and manufacturing in accordance with Sri Lanka’s requirements.

This was the first meeting between Baglay and Rajapaksa after the Virtual Bilateral Summit (VBS) between the Prime Ministers of India and Sri Lanka on September 26. The Thursday’s meeting provided an excellent opportunity to follow up on the implementation of the decisions taken in that high-level interaction last month, Indian High Commission said in a statement.

“The Indian High Com. Gopal Baglay and I met as a follow up to the virtual summit I had with PM Modi. I highlighted water & sanitation as priorities for #lka & we explored the possibility of collaborating with PM @narendramodi’s ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ (Water for Life Mission) project,” Rajapaksa tweeted. Jal Jeevan Mission is a project by the Centre to provide safe and adequate drinking tap water connection to every household in the rural areas of the country by 2024 at a service level of 55 litres per capita per day. The mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2019.

“Furthermore I requested the H.C. to look into the opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector and encourage Indian investors to establish research and manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka to help the country meet its requirement of medicinal drugs,” he added.

In the context of the Government of Sri Lanka’s high priority attached to water, sanitation, agriculture and manufacturing, the High Commissioner referred to India’s recent experience in these areas and stated that India was ready for developing further bilateral cooperation in accordance with Sri Lanka’s requirements.

According to the Indian High Commission statement, Baglay responded positively to the suggestions of the Prime Minister Rajapaksa for Indian investment in research and manufacturing in Sri Lanka, including in the pharmaceutical sector.

Referring to the tone set by the PM Modi and Rajapaksa in the VBS for expanding existing mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in a number of areas, the High Commissioner sought the guidance of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister for further steps, including in the spheres of priority to Sri Lanka.

“The High Commissioner mentioned to the Prime Minister that he and his colleagues in the High Commission had fruitful discussions in the days since VBS with a number of senior members of Sri Lanka’s Council of Ministers, including in the areas of the economy, connectivity, power and energy, agriculture and animal husbandry, development cooperation, education &capacity building, water and sanitation, health and pharmaceuticals, culture and people-to-people relations,” the statement read.

Recalling the importance attached by Prime Minister Modi to promoting people-to-people relations between the two countries, the High Commissioner stressed in this context the significance of the grant assistance of USD 15 million announced by Prime Minister Modi during VBS for promoting Buddhist ties between the two countries.

He mentioned that details of its implementation are being discussed with the Sri Lankan authorities concerned.

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