Continuing the discussion on crucial India-Sri Lanka bilateral projects, a delegation-level meeting was held here on Saturday between the newly appointed Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The visiting Minister, who took charge on August 15, also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluding the official part of his three-day visit.
“External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held delegation-level talks with the visiting Sri Lankan Minister and his accompanying delegation. The two sides discussed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and ways to further deepen the historically close and friendly relations between the two countries,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Saturday’s discussion is significant as in recent weeks India has been seeking faster implementation of bilateral projects.
During her last week’s visit to Colombo to attend the Indian Ocean Conference, Ms. Swaraj also held high-level discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. In her meeting with President Sirisena, she is said to have raised South Block’s concern over Colombo’s apparent delay in taking India-backed projects forward. A top source in Colombo told The Hindu that she urged the government to swiftly finalise the Mattala airport project near Hambantota — which India is interested in running — as well as a container terminal at the Colombo Port. The top leadership there reportedly pointed to domestic political challenges and said they would need more time.
As was in the case of his predecessors Mangala Samaraweera and Ravi Karunanayake, Mr. Marapana’s visit to New Delhi was his first overseas trip after assuming office.
“[The] Prime Minister congratulated Mr Tilak Marapana on assuming his new responsibility as Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka,” said the Ministry indicating the high importance attached to his visit.