New Delhi: India will work closely with the new Sri Lankan government led by Maithripala Sirisena – whose victory was a tribute to Lankan people’s yearning for change – to take bilateral ties to a new level, the Indian High Commissioner Y K Sinha said today. Addressing the celebrations of the 66th Indian Republic Day held at India House here, Sinha said India stands ready to continue to provide support and partnership to Sri Lanka in realising its people’s aspirations.
He congratulated the people of Sri Lanka on the peaceful conduct of the recent landmark elections that installed a new government under Sirisena in the island after defeating two-time president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sinha noted that electoral victory of Sirisena, was “a tribute to his capacity to respond to Sri Lankan people’s yearning for change”.
“The prosperity and security of the two countries is indivisible. India looks forward to working with the new Government of Sri Lanka to take the bilateral relationship to the next level for the benefit of the people of the two countries and the South Asian region as a whole,” he added. Speaking about the bilateral ties, Sinha said that India and Sri Lanka enjoy a vibrant and growing economic and commercial partnership, with both trade and investment expanding sharply in recent years.
Bilateral trade witnessed an upswing in 2014 and in the period January-November 2014, amounted to nearly USD 4 billion. Premier Indian companies have displayed great interest in Sri Lanka. The ‘Make in India’ initiative will attract more Sri Lankan companies to invest in India, he said. Sinha stated that one important pillar of modern India- Sri Lanka relations is development cooperation, which has been built on the foundation of mutual trust and understanding.
The flagship Indian Housing Project in Sri Lanka continues to make excellent progress, with the project reaching its target of constructing 16,000 houses during 2014. A total of 27,000 houses have been constructed under this project till date, he said.
The reconstruction of the railway line up to Jaffna, carried out under a concessional Indian Line of Credit of about USD 800 million, was a seminal moment, Sinha said. With the inauguration of the reconstructed railway track, reconnecting Jaffna to Colombo by rail after more than 24 years was achieved with Indian assistance.