Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will pay an official visit to Sri Lanka from October 2-5, 2021 on the invitation of the Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage. Shringla’s visit will provide an opportunity to review bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka, the progress of ongoing bilateral projects and ongoing cooperation to tackle COVID-19 related disruptions.
During his trip, the Foreign Secretary will also travel to Kandy, Trincomalee and Jaffna and also visit Jaffna cultural centre which is being built with India’s assistance. As an immediate neighbour, India has stepped on the accelerator and is being a first responder to the COVID crisis in Sri Lanka. New Delhi has supplied to Colombo 100 tons of liquid medical oxygen, 26 tons of medicines and delivered half a million Covid vaccines.
India has also aided the Suwa Seriya programme and provided free ambulances which now runs in all provinces of Sri Lanka and played an instrumental role in its fight against COVID 19.
It is learnt that Sri Lanka has been demanding more supplies of Covid vaccines from India.
Now that India has announced that it will open exports of vaccines, Lanka can be a beneficiary.
Sri Lanka occupies a central place in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. Foreign Secretary’s visit signifies the importance both countries attach to strengthening their close and cordial relations in all spheres of mutual interest, said the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.
Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Lankan counterpart G L Peiris in New York and held a comprehensive discussion on close partnership. After meeting the Lankan leader, Jaishankar said that he looks forward to work with him to “advance our shared agenda”.
Earlier this year, India supplied COVID-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka under the Neighbourhood First policy.
India also sent COVID-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Bangladesh under this policy.
Meanwhile, Shringla recently addressed the 76th United Nations General Assembly and said that “India is committed to the universal goal of non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament leading to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons”, on The International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, on Tuesday.