India and Sri Lanka formally commission Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday called on Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo and commissioned the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre built with a USD 6 million grant from India.

Jaishankar arrived in Colombo early on Thursday, his first visit here in his second consecutive term in office.

The two leaders met at the Sri Lankan President’s House, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

President Wickremesinghe and Jaishankar jointly unveiled the virtual plaque to mark the formal commissioning of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Sri Lanka under a USD 6 million grant from India.

This includes a centre at Navy Headquarters in Colombo, a sub-centre in Hambantota and unmanned installations at Galle, Arugambay, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kallarawa, Point Pedro and Mollikulam.

“Joined Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Ministers and senior officials at the virtual commissioning of Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and virtual handing over of 154 houses under GOl housing schemes @RW_UNP,” Jaishankar posted on X.

“President @RW_UNP and Indian EAM @DrSJaishankar jointly unveiled the virtual plaque for 106 houses in Kandy, N’Eliya and Matale under the Indian Housing Project with 24 houses in each model village in Colombo and Trincomalee being handed over virtually,” the PMD posted on X.

Jaishankar is also scheduled to discuss the progress of all ongoing Indian projects in Sri Lanka, officials said. He is also expected to discuss preliminary arrangements for a visit by Prime Minister Modi to the island.

Following his meeting with Wickremesinghe, Jaishankar is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

On his arrival in Colombo, Jaishankar was received by Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Senthil Thondaman, Governor of the Eastern Province.

“Landed in Colombo for my first visit in the new term. Thank Minister of State @TharakaBalasur1 and Governor of Eastern province @S_Thondaman for the warm welcome. Look forward to my meetings with the leadership,” Jaishankar posted on X.

Sri Lanka is central to India’s Neighbourhood First and SAGAR policies, he wrote.

Under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, India is committed to developing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all its neighbours.

SAGAR or Security and Growth for All in the Region is India’s vision and geopolitical framework of maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.

The trip to Sri Lanka will be Jaishankar’s standalone bilateral visit after he assumed charge as the external affairs minister for the second term on June 11.

Jaishankar was last week part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s delegation at the G7 Outreach summit in Italy’s Apulia region.

Sri Lankan President Wickremesinghe was among seven top leaders from India’s neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region who attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi and the Union Council of Ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 9. (PTI)