“Your visit is a very important opportunity for us to set the course for the next five years,” Minister Jaishankar told the Prime Minister.
Both delegations discussed the status of ongoing projects in Sri Lanka that are being implemented with Indian assistance. The two sides agreed to expedite a number of projects that have not seen much progress in the past few years.
There is a lot of interest in Sri Lanka in areas like tourism, the Minister said. He suggested that a team soon be sent to India to “market Sri Lanka” as a tourist destination. Typically, Sri Lanka receives the largest number of tourists from India. In 2018, tourist arrivals from India amounted to 424,887. This reduced in 2019 as a result of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks.
Minister Jaishankar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka shortly after the Easter attacks in 2019 was very intentionally to send a message to India and the world that Sri Lanka is safe. Prime Minister Modi was the first world leader to visit Sri Lanka after the Easter attacks.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa briefed the Minister on the new islandwide housing project that was initiated recently and invited India to consider providing assistance similar to the previous housing projects they have helped fund.
The two delegations also discussed the long-standing concerns of the fishing communities of both countries. Agreeing that this is a problem that benefits neither side, both countries agreed to work more closely together to find a practical solution in a way that benefits all affected fishing communities.