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India, Sri Lanka agree to further strengthen cooperation

This was agreed at meeting of  National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa during day-long visit to Colombo. 

President Rajapksa tweeted that strengthening of bilateral cooperation on national security, intelligence sharing, maritime security and fostering of regional cooperation were some of the key points of discussion.  

A press release added the cordial discussions included the two countries’ interest in better military to military corporation, maritime security and inter-operability between coast guards. 

Mr Doval outlined the importance of reviewing maritime domain awareness concept between Sri Lanka, Maldives and India and to include other regional states as observers. 

India has already pledged assistance to Sri Lanka in intelligence gathering technology. Establishing a earth co-ordinating centre was also discussed  and  50 million US dollar credit line to purchase equipment for the Sri Lankan military was promised as part of the defense cooperation. 

The visit was part of continuing high level exchange between the two neighbours after Gotabaya was elected President last November. 

Sri Lankan President made his maiden foreign visit to India followed by foreign minister Dinesh Gunawardena visit last week. 

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is due to visit India early next week.  Sri Lanka occupies an important position in Indian Ocean region and has seen growing Chinese influence in past decade. 

The new government has clarified that it will follow a neutral foreign policy and has invited investments from other countries including India. 

The government is also in the process of revisiting security aspects of Hambantota port, which was leased to a Chinese company for 99 years during previous government.

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